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Navajo VP Rex Lee Jim
WASHINGTON - Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim met last week with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, federal officials, and members of the Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of one primary representative from each of the 12 areas of the Indian Health Service.
"We want funding transferred for the Navajo Medicaid feasibility study. The US Department of Health and Human Services identified funding for the study over a year ago, but the transfer has not yet occurred,"
Vice President Jim said.
Other topics discussed included the Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee priorities for 2012 that encouraged equalized funding for tribal health services and for tribes to participate, through the Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee, in the entire budget formulation process. Under the Affordable Care Act the Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee will help determine the definition of 'Indian' for purposes of the law and to negotiate tribal participation in state Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Tribal Advisory Committee members also heard from the Administration for Children and Families who announced to the group that it would hold tribal consultations in February and March. A number of programs of importance to the Navajo Nation are under the Tribal Advisory Committee: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Child Care and Development Block Grant; Child Support Enforcement; Head Start; Foster Care and Adoption Assistance; Promoting Safe and Stable Families; Child Welfare Services; Administration for Native Americans; and Low Income Energy Assistance.
The Vice President also attended the Indian Health Service National Budget Formulation Work Session in Arlington, Virginia. This session was designed to give an overview of the Indian Health Service budget, current updates in the budget process, and an overview of the current budget situation. At this meeting, Vice President Jim was elected to be co-chair of the Budget Formulation Workgroup.
Vice President Jim and Navajo Nation Washington Office representatives also participated in an official visit with Diego Pary Rodgriguez, Bolivian Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS). Vice President Jim discussed the Navajo Nation's input towards a Declaration of Indigenous Rights for the Americas.
Tentative planning is ongoing for a high level conference to include the Navajo Nation and native peoples from North, Central, and South America.
posted January 28, 2012 6:00 am est
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