WASHINGTON, DC—The President’s proposed FY 2013 IHS budget request will help the agency address challenges and make progress in its priorities, the IHS director told a House subcommittee this week.
“I believe that we need to keep making as much progress as we can to try to improve the Indian Health Service, both in the way we manage it and in the care we provide,” IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux told a House subcommittee. “The budget that we proposed for 2013 acknowledges the overall needs related to addressing the budget deficit, but it still does make IHS a priority and I am grateful for that.”
The proposed budget includes $4.42 billion in budget authority, a $116 million increase over the IHS FY 2012 budget appropriation. The proposed budget is a 2.7% increase in the agency’s budget for fiscal year 2013.
Roubideaux touted a proposed increase of $54 million for Contract Health Services (CHS). Funding for this program is used to purchase health care services that the IHS and tribes are unable to provide in their local facilities. Of that amount $34 million would be used to address a 3.6% medical inflation rate for the program. The other $20 million increase would provide additional health care services by purchasing approximately 848 inpatient admissions, 31,705 outpatient visits and 1,116 one-way transportation services, according to budget documents.
Some members of the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, however, questioned whether the President’s proposed budget is sufficient to cover the agency’s needs. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, said that the budget request “takes a step backward on already underfunded programs that the United States has a legal and moral obligation to fund.”
“The FY13 budget for the Indian Health Service is markedly different from the request just a year ago,” he said. “Whereas last year’s request was a 14% increase including full funding to maintain current services, this year’s budget is a 2.7% increase, which doesn’t even cover the full cost of medical inflation.”