MTPR

Indian Health Service

Interim Indian Health Service Director Rear Admiral Michael Weahkee
YouTube

Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester wants to know how the Trump administration’s proposed 2018 federal budget will affect the Indian Health Service.

So, on Wednesday Tester turned to the troubled agency’s new acting director, Rear Admiral Michael Weahkee for answers.

It didn’t go well.

Weahkee could not explain how much money IHS is billing Medicaid to help keep the agency running.

Josh Burnham

If you’re wondering how repealing the Affordable Care Act will impact Montana, Indian country is a good place to look.

To Native healthcare leaders, Obamacare provides a great opportunity to create jobs.

Seal of the Chippewa Cree Tribes
Josh Burnham

Authorities say it is now safe for people living on the Rocky Boy's Reservation to drink their tap water again. The Environmental Protection Agency lifted a boil order today.

A graph from the Montana Budget and Policy Center's New Report
Montana Budget and Policy Center

If Congress and the Trump administration repeal the Affordable Care Act, 142,000 Montanans could potentially lose their health insurance coverage.

That’s according to a new report from the Montana Budget and Policy Center.

Mary Lynne Billy-Old Coyote is the director of Montana's Office of American Indian Health.
Courtesy Montana DPHHS

In Montana, the life expectancy for Native American people is 19 to 20 years shorter than for whites. The median age at death for Native men here is 56. It's 62 for Native women.

Those statistics, in part, motivated Governor Steve Bullock last year to create a new position in the state health department: Director of American Indian Health.

Senator Steve Daines Wednesday criticized the Indian Health Service for what he says is too much spending on administration and not enough on actual health care.

Josh Burnham

In January the Fort Belknap tribal council declared a “state of emergency” over methamphetamine abuse on the reservation. There’s no hard evidence that meth use at Fort Belknap is any more prevalent than other places in Montana. Authorities statewide say they’re seeing a resurgence in meth use and arrests in recent years, after a decline about a decade ago. 

Courtesy Indian Health Service

Starting on Saturday, Montanans can begin buying health insurance for next year on the healthcare.gov website. One group in the state that’s been slow to do so are Native Americans.