Attorneys for Northern Arapaho Tribe make arguments before SCOTUS regarding Tribal health care


    Today, attorneys representing the Northern Arapaho Tribe made oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Northern Arapaho Tribe is among tribes that contract with the federal government in order to administer their own health care programs. The federal Indian Health Service (IHS) provides funding for these programs, including to cover costs necessary to administer the program. The Northern Arapaho Tribe filed suit against the federal government after IHS rejected the Tribe’s 2016-17 reimbursement claims for costs associated with health care expenditures using funds obtained from third-party insurers, including Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers. In March 2023, a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled in the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s favor.

    Statement from the Northern Arapaho Business Council:

    “The arguments made on our behalf today before the U.S. Supreme Court are a historic occasion with significant implications for our Tribe and numerous other Native communities that administer their own health care programs via a contract with the federal Indian Health Service.

    “Congress’ intent was clear with the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act: Tribes are entitled to federal reimbursement for their overhead costs in administering Tribal health care programs. Anything less would result in the loss of millions of dollars, with commensurate cuts to vital Tribal programs and services depended upon by the Northern Arapaho people.


    “That would be unacceptable, and this is the reason we have chosen to take this fight to the nation’s highest court. We are confident the Supreme Court will find in our favor, as the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals did, and uphold this critical issue of Tribal sovereignty.”


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