Special News for Indian Country


On Friday, August 12, 2022, the United States House of Representative joined the Senate in passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 making a historic down payment deficit reduction to fight inflation. Next, the Act will go to President Biden for signature marking a major achievement for the Biden-Harris Administration. On Friday, President Biden tweeted that he would sign it into law next week, saying: “Today, the American people won. Special interests lost.”

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides $369 billion to address climate change and domestic energy production in a more sustainable way, sets targets to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030, allows for Medicare to negotiate prescription drugs prices on over 100 drugs and provides $64 billion to extend the Affordable Care Act subsidy for three years. American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) are eligible to sign up for benefits under the Affordable Care Act on an open enrollment basis. 

General provisions will benefit all Americans – including Tribal communities. The legislation caps monthly insulin costs to $35 a month, typically priced at over $600. Tribal elders, like all many seniors are often forced to decide between food and their prescriptions – unable to afford both. This legislation will help address seniors’ financial burden by capping out of pocket prescriptions to $2,000 annually by 2025. Beneficiaries would also have the option to break that amount into more affordable monthly payments. The legislation would extend the Affordable Care Act subsidies, potentially saving enrollees, including those in Tribal communities by up to $800 a year.  

Tribal nations have long expressed concerns with the existential threat represented by climate change. The NIHB 2022 Legislative and Policy Agenda for Indian Health includes several agenda items related to climate change as a primary social determination of health including, “provid[ing] resources to Tribes that address the health effects of climate change, including for long-term planning, mitigation, and adaptation activities” (p. 25).  The Inflation Reduction Act aligns with the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) Legislative and Policy Agenda to, “Promote and Sustain Environmental Health Improvements in Indian Country” (p.24) by lowering energy emissions to confront the existential threat of climate change provide relief and alternatives in some Tribal communities that face land erosion and further loss of their Tribal territories.


Climate-related disasters like heatwaves, wildfires, floods, hundred-year storms occurring in consecutive years, and land erosion have devastating impacts on many Tribal communities, and the effects of climate change continue to worsen. Manmade disasters risk centuries old indigenous ways of life and culture. Tribal lands and territories are on the front lines of the devasting impact of climate change so funds to slow or remediate the impacts will benefit Tribal communities. Tribes need funding for climate hazard and risk assessments (p. 38) including clean water as a primary climate determinant of health (p. 25). Four billion dollars is slated for western drought resiliency. Sixty billion is intended for environmental justice that will undoubtedly benefit AI/ANs as environmental racism is disproportionately prevalent in Tribal communities.


Specific provisions in the Act to directly benefit Tribal nations include:

  • $272.5 million to Native communities for climate resilience and adaptation, including ~ $25 million in targeted climate resilience funding to the Native Hawaiian community for the first time;
  • $12.5 million to mitigate drought impacts for Tribes;
  • $10 million for Tribal fish hatcheries;
  • $150 million for Tribal home electrification;
  • A tenfold increase (from $2 billion to $20 billion) in loan guarantees for Tribal energy development.

Tribal nations will celebrate this historic step in the right directly as the rest of the Country, and Congress begin to understand what AI/ANs have known since time immemorial ~ interdependence with the environment requires respect for the earth as our very existence depend on it. The $272 million for Tribal climate resilience over ten years is a substantial increase and will begin to address these climate change challenges. We urge the administration to quickly initiative Tribal consultation to ensure Tribal governments drive how these funds are received.  

For questions, please contact NIHB Director of Government Relations Aaron Payment, EdD, at [email protected].

National Indian Health Board | www.nihb.org | 202-507-4070
Visit the NIHB COVID-19 Tribal Resource Center at:
For media inquiries, contact Janee Andrews at [email protected]
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