American Indian Tribes To Lose Medical Care and $130 Million In Funding Due To Sequestration

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According to a recently published article, representatives of American Indian tribal organizations are in opposition to recent attempts by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to tax tribal nations. The move for taxation comes at the same time that funding for tribal nations is being cut.

The article cites Native News Network and the Indian Health Service, claiming that funding cuts could amount to $130 million and cuts to tribal hospitals and clinics would force those institutions to accept 3,000 fewer inpatient admissions and 800,000 fewer outpatient visits. Tribal representatives say that Native Indian and Alaskan Native programs have historically been underfunded and that the conditions in some tribal areas are on par with those of third world nations.

In recent years, Tribal Nations have experienced some economic growth due to online endeavors such as short-term financing programs. The article says that it is this recent growth that prompted the IRS to begin seek taxes from Tribal Nations. The author says that the Federal government is sending mixed signals to the American Indian Sovereign Nations. On one hand, Tribal Nations who have only recently discovered a clear path towards economic independence are being denied vital funding to keep their communities moving forward, and on the other hand the Federal government is trying to take what little funds the Tribal Nations are bringing in.

The cutting of funds is threatening to Native Indians because welfare programs for tribal peoples have helped create a significant improvement in tribal conditions over the past several decades. Education and child care programs have helped poverty rates on American Indian reservations fall from over 50% to 33%. With the intended cuts, poverty rates are expected to rise back to their original levels.