TITLE: Support for Comprehensive Education Campaign about the Affordable Care Act and its Potential Benefits for American Indians and Alaska Natives, as Part of an Overall Effort to Improve Health Care for all American Indians and Alaska Natives
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, health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives and all citizens of Tribal Nations is a trust responsibility of the United States, as stated in many treaties, including the Great Sioux Nation Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, federal law and Supreme Court decisions; and
WHEREAS, in 2010, Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” an Act intended to greatly expand the provision of health care to all citizens of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the Affordable Care Act does not replace the provision of health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives through the Indian Health Service, but does allow such care to be supplemented, particularly for American Indians and Alaska Natives living off the reservation, in a number of ways; and
WHEREAS, one of the provisions important to American Indians and Alaska Natives is that the tax imposed on persons who do not have health care insurance is not imposed on American Indians and Alaska Natives who otherwise would using the Indian Health Service for their health care needs; and
WHEREAS, in order for American Indians and Alaska Natives and their families to take full advantage of the Act, wherever they may live, the various facets of the Act should be fully understood, including, for example, the use of health care exchanges to obtain relatively inexpensive health care insurance; and
WHEREAS, because a wide variety of media sources have provided misleading or false information about the Affordable Care Act, which could discourage persons who could benefit from the Act from participation in the Acts various programs, it is necessary to get accurate and relevant information about the Act and its various programs to American Indians and Alaska Natives throughout Indian Country.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI hereby urges the Indian Health Service, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the health departments and human services departments of the various states, inter-tribal organizations concerned with health issues, and tribal governments and their health departments, to provide all American Indians and Alaska Natives with accurate and detailed information about the Affordable Care Act and its consequences, and other recent changes to the provision of health care, including healthy life style preventive programs, that are available or that will become available as the Affordable Care Act is put into effect throughout the United States; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI hereby urges Congress and the President of the United States do all they can to assist citizens to understand accurately the various programs of the Affordable Care Act and to implement the Act in a way which is as beneficial as possible to American Indians and Alaska Natives and all other United States citizens; 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 2013 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Cox Business Center from October 13 - 18, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a quorum present.