The Senate overwhelmingly passed, 83-10, legislation that pumps $35 billion over the next 10 years into the Indian Health Services, a move meant to modernize a federal agency that has seen few changes over the years.
Many (Indian Health Services) facilities in native communities are so cash-strapped that theyre forced to turn away thousands of severely ill patients every year, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the bills sponsor, said in a written statement. This bill is the lifeline that those folks so desperately need.
The bill expands Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP reimbursement for a wider range of Indian health services, expands access to care and allows states to exceed the current cap on SCHIP outreach spending. The bill also expands the number of providers eligible to recoup federal payments. -- by Matthew DoBias
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