Health Insurance Reform Brings Overdue Changes To Nevada's Tribes

Las Vegas, NV –Nevada Senator Harry Reid outlined provisions in the landmark health insurance reform legislation that will specifically benefit Nevada’s tribal communities. The Indian Health Care Improvement Reauthorization and Extension Act addresses long-awaited changes to Indian Health Service (IHS) programs.  The amendments target the poor health conditions in Indian Country as a matter of the federal trust responsibility owed to Indian Tribes, and permanently reauthorize Indian health programs which will bring quality, affordable health care to 1.9 million Native Americans. 

“Until last Tuesday, tribal health care laws had not been reauthorized since 2001; they hadn’t been comprehensively updated since 1992,” said Reid.  “Nevada is home to 27 Indian tribes, and I worked to make sure that health care reform met the needs of each one of them.  I appreciate the decades of hard work of many tribal leaders and the steadfast efforts of Indian Country to make reauthorization a reality.” 

Provisions in the new law include:  

  • Greater research and grant opportunities to health care organizations in each IHS area, and benefit research and treatment programs to promote health and healing for youth and families in the community
  • Promotion of physical and mental wellness and funding for programs to fight prescription drug abuse in tribal communities
  • Expansion of preventative services to cover screenings for prostate cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer and colon cancer
  • Funding for prevention activities and management programs for diabetes and HIV/AIDS
  • Behavioral and mental health training, enforcement for prescription drug monitoring, and increased funding for drug abuse and communicable disease prevention programs in urban Indian organizations
  • Funding for innovative mental and physical disease prevention, health promotion and treatment programs in areas of child sexual abuse, domestic and sexual violence and mental illnesses
  • Creation of a separate Nevada Area Office for IHS, separating Indian health programs in the state of Nevada from the Phoenix Area of IHS.