HEROES Act Passes House of Representatives

Includes $2.1 Billion for IHS alongside other Tribal Health Provisions

Contact: April Hale at ahalepr@gmail.com or 505-728-0760

WASHINGTON, DC—May 15, 2020—Today, the House of Representatives passed a massive $3 trillion COVID-19 relief package on a largely party line vote of 208-199. The behemoth package includes a number of significant Tribal healthcare and public health provisions to strengthen response efforts across Indian Country. Overall, the package includes billions in relief funding for Tribal, state, and territorial governments including $20 billion in economic relief funding for Tribal Nations.

In addition to funding for federal agencies, Tribal and other government entities, the HEROES Act includes significant investment in election security, education, nutrition, banking measures, housing, and another round of $1,200 direct cash payments to individuals.

While the full HEROES Act is unlikely to pass the U.S. Senate, it is intended to initiate bipartisan negotiations to deliver another round of relief in response to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

NIHB has a detailed breakdown of the Tribal health provisions available here, while a full section by section analysis of the entire 1,815 page bill is available here.

Apart from the Tribally-specific health provisions, the HEROES Act would inject another $100 billion into the healthcare provider relief fund administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on top of the $100 billion appropriated under the CARES Act, and the $75 billion under the Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act.

However, if enacted, the HEROES Act would make significant technical changes to how HHS administers the provider relief fund, including by emphasizing a focus on reimbursing incurred expenses as opposed to lost revenue, and also directing a greater portion of funds towards providers and health facilities treating a significant number of COVID-19 patients. These changes would also retroactively impact any unobligated balances of provider relief funds from the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act. As NIHB has previously reported, HHS has carved out $400 million out of the CARES Act provider relief fund for direct payments to Indian Health Care Providers across the Indian health system.

Overall, HEROES would provide over $2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and $3 billion to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Funding and legislative victories related to Tribal public health in the HEROES Act include: 

Indian Health Service (IHS):

$2.1 Billion overall

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA)

Additional Tribal Public Health Provisions

Tribal Legislative Priorities

Next Steps

While the full HEROES Act is largely expected to fail in the Senate, many of the significant healthcare and public health provisions are likely to garner bipartisan support. NIHB will continue to advocate to build on the Tribal health provisions for the final relief package. In the meantime, the Senate majority is crafting its own relief package to counter the HEROES Act.

NIHB continues to push forward significant Tribal healthcare and public health provisions to ensure Indian Country is fully equipped with the necessary resources to protect and preserve the health of all American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

To access the full list of Tribal priorities outlined in NIHB’s letters to Congress, click here


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