Murkowski: Obama Administration “Rewriting History,” Shortchanging Native Health Funding Needs

Senator Fires Back at White House’s False Justifications, Ignoring Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Lisa Murkowski today criticized the Obama Administration’s proposal to short-fund the operation costs of tribally run hospitals, despite last year’s historic Supreme Court ruling requiring full funding of contract support costs, saying:

“I am deeply troubled by the Indian Health Service’s continued resistance to the Supreme Court’s ruling last Summer that the federal government must pay the full amount of contract support costs to our tribes’ tireless and, oftentimes, thankless care for their people.  This is not merely justice denied, but justice ignored.

“What they are saying is not just revisionist history, it’s rewriting history.  The Ramah decision came down in June of last year and the Indian Health Service released its budget this April containing language that circumvents the Supreme Court’s ruling – without consulting tribes or involving Congress – and this ‘push back’ from them demonstrates that they continue to have no path forward to abiding by the law and respecting sovereignty.

“Last month, I joined the Barrow community as they opened their new hospital.  There and other spectacular new health centers in Nome,  Fairbanks and Wasilla – as well as the existing clinics that have served their communities for years – Alaska Native tribes are doing their part to deliver the highest quality medical care to their communities, but they continue to wait for a true partner from this President.

“The Supreme Court has spoken, but the administration refuses to listen.

Earlier this year, Senator Murkowski questioned Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about only consulting tribes “after the fact” on contract support costs.

(Senator Murkowski questioned Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about the contract support cost shortfall earlier this year in May – Click image to watch exchange.)

(Senator Murkowski attended the opening ceremony of Barrow’s Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital in August.)