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Democrats Block Amendment to Fund IHS Through End of Fiscal Year

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) released the following statement after Democrats on the House Rules Committee blocked an amendment to H.R. 268, Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2019, that would have funded Indian Health Services (IHS) for a full fiscal year.  The amendment was defeated along party lines: 8 – 4.

“I’m disappointed that my colleagues across the aisle did not think it necessary that the federal government carry out its trust responsibilities to provide health care to Native Americans,” said Mullin.  “Native American health care does not belong in political crossfire.  The government has a federal obligation to Indian Country.  This amendment would have ensured funding for IHS through fiscal year 2019.”

The Mullin amendment, the Pay Our Doctors Act, would have funded IHS for the next fiscal year.  It would ensure that both tribally-run hospitals and Urban Indian Clinics receive the funding they need to pay their doctors and keep their doors open.  

During a government shutdown, tribally-run hospitals and Urban Indian Clinics do not receive annual funding, which is typically distributed in a lump sum at the beginning of a fiscal year.  Hospitals and clinics are forced to make ends meet by using any remaining rollover funds from the previous year.  If no funds are available, hospitals and clinics are forced to furlough or lay-off staff.

Congressman Mullin continues to push leadership to take up H.R. 195, the Pay Our Doctors Act, as a standalone bill.  To date, the bill has 11 bipartisan cosponsors.

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