U.S. Supreme Court sides with Northern Arapaho Tribe, other Native communities in health care lawsuit


    In an opinion issued this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Northern Arapaho Tribe and other Native communities that had filed suit seeking federal reimbursement for all costs associated with administering health care programs. Attorneys representing the Northern Arapaho Tribe made oral arguments before the high court earlier this spring.

    The Northern Arapaho Tribe is among Indian communities 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:

    “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision is a momentous victory for the Northern Arapaho people and the sovereignty of all tribes. This ruling upholds the promise of the Indian Self-Determination Act, which Congress passed with the intention of reimbursing tribes for their costs in administering health care programs. A judicial finding to the contrary would have cost our Tribe alone millions of dollars, leading to reduced services and programs that our community relies upon.

    “This legal triumph is the culmination of work by many Northern Arapaho officials, staff members and legal representatives. We thank Wind River Family & Community Health Care CEO Richard Brannon for bringing the idea of this legal challenge to our attention, as well as our entire legal team – including outside counsel with the firms of Jenner & Block and Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker who assisted in taking this issue to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and, ultimately, the Supreme Court.”


    Related Posts

    Have a news tip or an awesome photo to share?