Fort Hall Business Council member Dan Stone testifies before the House Health and Welfare Committee hearing on February 7. (Submitted photo)
Submitted by YVETTE TUELL
Tribal Public Affairs
BOISE — Fort Hall Business Council member Dan Stone testified on February 7 at a hearing before the House Health and Welfare Committee hearing in support of House Bill 464.
H464 is proposing to improve access to the Affordable Care Act exchange and allow more patients to enroll in Medicaid. In order to do this, the State Legislature must approve the request to seek two federal waivers from the U.S. Health and Human Services. The two waivers would allow more people to enroll and receive insurance subsides and allow more patients with complex medical needs to gain coverage under Medicare.
The Tribes are in support of House bill 464 because it would extend Tribal funding and Indian Health Service funding to be used for other medical costs.
Stone said the Tribes has over 20,000 registered patients at our health care facility and “This legislation and the subsequent dual waiver process are a critical need for our Tribal membership and Tribal community whom we serve. The 1115 and 1332 waivers will benefit our people and your constituents.”
He said it would provide more consistent and comprehensive medical coverage and allow medical facilities reimbursement to provide desperately needed medical care. “Indian Health Service is a payer of last resort, so these two waivers would be instrumental in allowing us to provide coverage to treat preventable conditions and preserve scarce Purchased and Referred Care dollars,” Stone said.
In the three hours of testimony Council member Stone was the only tribal leader who testified at the hearing. The vote at the hearing was 7-5 to pass the bill to the House floor for further consideration. The next hearing will be on February 14 in front of the entire House of Representatives.
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Executive Director Angelo Gonzales is stepping down because of medical reasons and Tribal Water Engineer and Tribal Water Resources Director Elese Teton as interim E.D.
Teton will serve as interim Tribal Executive Director until the position is advertised and filled permanently according to a memo sent to tribal managers last week.
In turn, Teton delegated Spence Ward, deputy water engineer as interim Tribal Water Engineer and Tribal Water Resources Director.