U.S. Rep. Gallagher: Co-sponsors Indian Health Service Advanced Appropriations Act of 2019

Contact: Jordan Dunn

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Mike Gallagher last week co-sponsored H.R. 1135, the Indian Health Service (IHS) Advance Appropriations Act of 2019. This legislation would provide an advanced appropriation to the IHS, which would ensure that the funding the IHS receives is not impacted by lapses in appropriations, such as government shutdowns. The Department of Veterans Affairs health system operates under a similar model.

“The Indian Health Service (IHS) Advance Appropriations Act would go a long way in providing the IHS with the financial security and stability it deserves,” said Rep. Gallagher. “Native Americans and Alaska Natives should not see their access to care restricted because the government can’t do its job, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in this effort to ensure their access to care is not impacted by government shutdowns or lapses in appropriations.”

Statements of support

The Oneida Nation applauds Congressman Gallagher for co-sponsoring the Indian Health Service Advance Appropriations Act, which prevents vital health care services from being interrupted in the event of future government shutdowns.  The Indian Health Service is tasked with ensuring that 2.2 million Native Americans and Alaskan Natives receive health care services, and the Indian Health Service was the only federal health system to have a lapse in funding in the most recent government shutdown,” said Oneida Nation Chairman Tehassi Hill.  “Modeled on the Veterans Affairs health system, this bill authorizes the Indian Health Service to be funded one year in advance to ensure that during any shutdown medical professionals are compensated for their work, prescriptions are filled, and patients have access to treatment they need without delay.” 

“The recent prolonged federal government shutdown revealed how vulnerable tribal communities are when it comes to interruptions in federal support for health services.  The federal trust responsibility does not take a vacation when Congress fails to pass annual spending bills and for that reason the Ho Chunk Nation is grateful to Congressmen Mike Gallagher and Don Young and the bi-partisan group of legislators supporting [H.R.1135, the Indian Health Service Advance Appropriations Act of 2019.]  By supporting [H.R.1135, the Indian Health Service Advance Appropriations Act of 2019], Congressman Gallagher shows that he understands the need for uninterrupted federal health services for our Ho-Chunk Nation communities,” said Ho-Chunk Nation President Cleveland.

“The Stockbridge-Munsee Community applauds Congressman Gallagher for working hard to legislate solutions for the health care crisis in Indian Country that occurs with each government shutdown.  Our member’s health care and the federal government’s treaty and trust responsibilities require the greater funding certainty that this bill would create,”said Shannon Holsey, President of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians. 

“This legislation is essential to protecting our tribe and tribal members, and it comes on the heels of recent lobby efforts with our Representatives and senators in Washington DC.  The proposed legislation extends advance appropriations to Indian Health Services, and protects Tribes from funding lapses and disruption of services during critical periods of government shutdowns or by short-term funding packages.  The Menominee Nation is happy to see it’s coming and supports Congressman Gallagher’s efforts and would urge other Agencies to follow the lead of IHS,” said Menominee Nation Chairman Douglas Cox.

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