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Kildee Applauds Inclusion of Tribal Health Program in President’s Budget

June 3, 2021
Press Release
New Budget Would Ensure Uninterrupted Health Care for Indian Country Through the Indian Health Service

FLINTCongressman Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and member of the House Budget Committee, today applauded the Biden administration for including Indian Health Service (IHS) funding in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget in a way that would not interrupt health care for Indian Country.

IHS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for providing health care services to members of federally-recognized Native American Tribes. However, IHS is treated differently from other federal health programs, would has caused interruptions in health care for Native Americans. Currently, other federal health programs, including the Veterans Affairs (VA) program, are “pre-funded”—meaning that their federal funding is guaranteed even in the event of a government shutdown or agency standstill.

Kildee, a member of the House Budget Committee, for years has fought for parity so that IHS is treated the same way as other federal health programs.

“The federal government has a trust responsibility to ensure uninterrupted health care access for Indian Country,” Congressman Kildee said. “Under current law, the Indian Health Service is treated differently than other federal health programs like the VA. This unequal treatment means that access to health care is at risk in the event of a government shutdown. As a member of the House Budget Committee, I have been working toward parity between IHS and other federal health programs, and I thank President Biden for including this initiative in his annual budget.”

As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Kildee has also worked to ensure parity for tribal governments when it comes to other aspects of the federal government. Under his leadership, the Ways and Means Committee held its first-ever hearing on the impact of the tax code on Indian nations. Congressman Kildee represents the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Michigan.