Roubideaux: 2013 budget may sting Indian Country

by Oct 11, 2012Front Page, NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments

UNCASVILLE, Conn.– The effects of the 2013 budget may have a sting on Indian Country healthcare according to Indian Health Services Director, Dr. Yvette Roubideaux. In her presentation to the United South and Eastern Tribes’(USET) Board of Directors on Thursday, Oct. 11, Roubideaux explained the proposed cuts to the 2013 health budget by congress.

Dr. Yvette Roubideaux addresses the USET Board of Directors on Thursday, Oct. 11. (USET Photo)

“The FY 2013 President’s budget proposal includes an increase of $116 million, or 2.7%, with a total budget authority of $4.42 billion,” she said.  “So far, the House has actually proposed larger increase, and Congress has passed a 6-month Continuing Resolution that will take us through to next March. We are also facing sequestration in January 2013. This means automatic across-the-board budget cuts for federal programs. OMB has released a report on the potential sequester scheduled for January 2.”

“The report provides an estimate of the reductions that would be required and additional information on the potential sequestration. The Administration does not support these cuts and believes they should not be implemented. The estimates in the report are preliminary, but the report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to core government functions. Under the current assumptions in the law, sequestration would result in an 8.2% cut in the IHS budget for discretionary programs and a 2% cut for SDPI. This translates into approximately $356 million in devastating cuts to the IHS. The only way this won’t happen is if Congress acts to avoid it before January; we certainly hope they do take action,” Dr. Roubideaux told Tribal leadership.

There are some brighter notes from Indian Health Services. Dr. Roubideaux is at the USET Annual Meeting with Indian Health Service Nashville Area Office Director Martha Ketcher to address Tribal leadership. Roubideaux and Ketcher gave their thanks to USET for the implementation of Tribal Data Quality Improvement & Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Pilot Program and noted several Tribes have met all of their indicators for the year.

“I want to say that the participation and partnership with USET has been so valuable to us (IHS). In the past four years, that partnership has been directly responsible for helping increase the IHS budget by 29%. We must continue our partnership with USET,” Roubideaux told USET.

USET’s Tribal Health Program Support also provides programming for Epidemiology, Dental, Diabetes, advocacy and technical training, electronic health record support, USET-Vanderbilt University (VU) Native American Research Center for Health (NARCH).