Navajo Nation Vice President encouraged by Navajo Medicaid Feasibility Report

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Contact: Jared King
Communications Director
Navajo Nation Washington Office
202-200-0625
jking@nnwo.org

For Immediate Release

Navajo Nation Vice President encouraged by Navajo Medicaid Feasibility Report

WASHINGTON— Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim was encouraged by the Navajo Nation Medicaid Feasibility Report published yesterday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which found that the Navajo Nation could operate its own Medicaid program to meet the needs of the Navajo Nation. Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim

“On behalf of the Navajo Nation, I am pleased to hear that the feasibility study report has finally cleared the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and was released to Congress. I am especially grateful to hear that a Navajo Nation Medicaid agency could be feasible,” said the vice president. 

“There are about 85,000 Navajo Medicaid beneficiaries in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Currently, they must apply through the state and sometimes travel outside the Navajo Nation to obtain answers to their questions. By consolidating into one agency, this would eliminate confusion and create one source for the Navajo people,” added Vice President Jim.

For about fifteen years, many Navajo leaders and officials have consistently advocated for inclusion of a Navajo Nation Medicaid Agency provision in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act reauthorization, the landmark legislation that authorizes funding for American Indians and Alaska Natives health care. In March 2010, the Indian Health Care Improvement reauthorization and extension act was made permanent. It included a congressionally mandated study to determine the feasibility of the Navajo Nation administer a Medicaid program for its own residents.

“This study will allow the Navajo Nation to further exercise, promote and advance tribal sovereignty. It will allow us to hire and train health administrators knowledgeable of the unique circumstances of the Nation and develop the capacity to help the Navajo people become a healthier Nation. We thank Congress expediting this study which found a Navajo Medicaid agency is feasible. We urge lawmakers to appropriate funds for the Navajo Nation to plan, design and implement this program,” stated Vice President Jim.

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