Health & Education

Obama's 2013 proposed budget includes IHS funding increase

02.28.2012 Dean Rhodes Health & Wellness, Federal government

In a federal budget where almost everything is being cut or eliminated, the White House's 2013 budget has proposed increases for the Indian Health Service of as much as 2.7 percent.

The total proposed budget for Indian Health Service is $4.42 billion, a $116 million increase over the 2012 budget appropriation.

"This is a proposed budget," Mark Johnston, the Tribe's Health Services executive director, cautioned. "We don't know how it will filter out."

Within weeks, however, the Indian Health Service appropriation will be divvied up among IHS offices nationwide, and when the Portland office learns what its share will be, the Grand Ronde part will become clearer.

The big item for Grand Ronde in the budget is Contract Health, which pays for medical and related services to members in the Tribe's six-county service area, said Johnston.

From the White House's initial proposal, the clinic's portion could be as high as a 2.6 percent increase.

Regardless of the final funding decision, Tribal members will continue to enjoy the same health coverage and medical care. What the increased funds will do, Johnston said, is "enable the Tribe to make better use of its funds."

"This looks very favorable for the Tribe," said Johnston.

From an early look at the White House proposal, no other Tribal programs appear to be in line for as significant an increase in federal funding.

Indian Health Service is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and provides health services for approximately 2 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives who are members of federally recognized Tribes.