WASHINGTON, DC—March 8, 2021—The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) released its annual Legislative and Policy Agenda listing Tribal health-related administrative and legislative requests for 24 issues areas ranging from COVID-19 response and recovery and increased telehealth capacity to full funding for the Indian Health Service and improving water and sanitation infrastructure as an integral public health measure. The NIHB Board of Directors adopted the Agenda along with a Roadmap for the Biden Administration on February 26, 2021.
“The National Indian Health Board’s annual Legislative and Policy Agenda is a set of priorities and recommendations put forward on behalf of Tribes with recommendations and input from Tribes across Indian Country. Armed with this Agenda, NIHB continues to advocate for the fulfillment of the federal trust responsibility and strengthening of the political relationship between the United States and Tribes. As a collective, we intend to work with the federal government’s legislative and executive branches to push for equitable access and quality healthcare for our Tribal people,” said NIHB Chairman William “Bill” Smith who is also Vice Chair of the Valdez Native Tribe of Alaska.
NIHB’s 2021 Legislative and Policy Agenda highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a disproportionate impact on American Indian and Alaska Native people and illuminated many of the disparities Tribes experience, which have led to worse COVID-19 outcomes.
“The health disparities that our American Indian and Alaska Native people suffer from is not new to us. However, our people’s challenges and struggles may be new information for Members of Congress and federal representatives who need to know the Tribal health priorities and ways to collaborate to achieve it. The NIHB Legislative and Policy Agenda and Biden Administration Roadmap helps to set the course of work for the organization and provides lawmakers with the resources they need to advocate for Tribal communities,” said NIHB CEO Stacy A. Bohlen, a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Michigan.