WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman of the Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee Congressman Don Young today sent a letter to the President Obama requesting that the Administration expeditiously pay contract support claims (CSC) to Alaska Native and Native American entities so named in the June 2012 Supreme Court decisions.
Nearly nine months after the Supreme Court ordered the Federal government pay outstanding CSC claims in full for the parties named in the cases, affected Alaska Native entities and tribes have not received their payment. These funds are used to provide much needed healthcare to one of the most medically-disadvantaged populations in the nation. To further delay what is owed violates the trust responsibility the federal government has with Alaska Natives and Native Americans.
“I am writing to request your urgent assistance in having the Indian Health Service (IHS) expeditiously settle outstanding contract support costs (CSC) claims in accordance with the June 2012 Supreme Court decisions in Ramah Navajo Chapter and Arctic Slope Native Associations cases. Those two decisions held that the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) requires that Indian and Alaska Native Tribes be paid their full CSC. While tribal health programs have always been underfunded, CSC funds are a contract obligation and by law must be paid in full. These funds are also critical to these tribal programs so that the Tribe may provide essential health services to their American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) beneficiaries.”
Rep. Young continues, “Tribal health programs in Alaska and throughout the United States have always been underfunded and have had to do more with less in providing essential health services to AI/ANs. The mission of tribal health programs has been made even more difficult because of historic underfunding of required contract support costs. The Ramah and Arctic Slope decisions have vindicated the Tribes’ right to be paid in full.”
Rep. Young concludes, “In this difficult economic environment it is critical that tribal contractors receive the CSC funds they are due in a timely manner. Therefore, I request that you direct the IHS to develop a plan of action that will promptly resolve the claims. It is time for the government to pay the amounts owed to tribes and to bring to a close this unfortunate chapter in the agency’s relations with AI/ANs.”
The entire letter from Rep. Young to President Obama can be found here.