TITLE: Support Medicaid Expansion for Every State
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court upheld the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but made Medicaid expansion optional to each state. According to an October, 2013 Kaiser Family Foundation Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured report , Medicaid expansion would provide health care insurance for an estimated 2,279,100 low income American Indian and Alaska Natives across the country, significantly reducing the number of uninsured individuals; and
WHEREAS, the Indian Health Service (IHS) remains historically underfunded and is unable to meet the health care needs of the population it serves; and
WHEREAS, a coverage gap exists in the 21 states that as of July, 2014, have not chosen to expand Medicaid to meet the needs of those with little or no health insurance. Many of these states have some of the highest AI/AN populations. Key states include Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Alaska; and
WHEREAS, we acknowledge the 26 states that have chosen to expand Medicaid and applaud their concern for the health of their citizens; and
WHEREAS, the New England Journal of Medicine reported: “State Medicaid expansions to cover low-income adults were significantly associated with reduced mortality as well as improved coverage, access to care, and self-reported health.”
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI hereby supports the expansion of Medicaid in the remaining states to address the limited resources and lack of services provided to chronically underserved populations such as American Indian and Alaska Native Communities when the decision comes before the Governors and state legislatures; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI will share this position with the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.