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
, while a full section by section analysis of the entire 1,815 page bill is
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: