TITLE: NICOA Elders Request Long Term Care Funding
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, National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. (NICOA) was established in 1976 by Tribal Leaders to advocate for improved comprehensive health, social services, and economic wellbeing for American Indian and Alaska Native Elders. NICOA, submits to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) this resolution passed by its members at their biennial meeting on September 5, 2014; and
WHEREAS, as the American Indian/Alaska Native Elder population increases, the urgent need for long term care services and supports also increases. According to the Administration on Aging, the number of AI/AN people age 65 and older is projected to increase by nearly 75% between 2010 and 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Native people overall were 50.3% more likely to have a disability, when compared with the national average. Overall AI/AN populations experience some of the highest rates of chronic disease and disability in the U.S; and
WHEREAS, a 2010 survey by R. Tuner Goins, Ph.D. found that out of 566 tribes only 15 percent of tribes had nursing home services and 16 percent had assisted living services; and
WHEREAS, The Affordable Care Act and its dual legislation, the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act grants the Indian Health Service (IHS) specific authorities for provision of long term care; and
WHEREAS, the aforementioned legislation only authorizes IHS to provide services but does not mandate any new funding specific to long-term care. The Indian Health Service does provide care but has been underfunded for decades. A 2005 GAO report titled “Indian Health Service: Health Care Services Are Not Always Available to Native Americans” highlighted the ongoing problems of long wait times, lack of adequate facilities and rationing of care due to lack of funding; and
WHEREAS, adequate appropriations are needed to address this impending health crisis.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI does hereby call on the Obama administration to request and for Congress to authorize and appropriate adequate funding for the provision of long term care services and supports in addition to home and community based services for American Indian and Alaska Natives; and
BE IT FURTHER 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.