Jun 6, 2017

The grim prospects of the Indian Health Service under Trump

Fan Fei / Modern Healthcare

The Indian Health Service has battled mismanagement and underfunding for several years, and it's unlikely President Trump's administration will lend a helping hand soon.

The bottom line: The IHS network of hospitals and clinics exclusively treats Native Americans who are in federally protected tribes, and many tribal leaders have traveled to D.C. to beg Congress for help to improve a system they say is riddled with substandard care. Congress is attempting to pass legislation to help employee recruitment and retention within IHS. But don't expect larger meaningful changes to the system, considering Trump's 2018 budget would cut IHS funding by $56 million.

What's happening in Congress: The Senate is again proposing a bill that would help remove problematic IHS employees and improve employee recruitment by allowing IHS to boost pay scales and repay student loans. The Senate will hold a hearing on the bill June 13.

The first iteration of this bill popped up a year ago. A spokesperson for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee said the Trump administration is looking over the legislation, and so far "feedback has been generally positive." This comes several months after a Senate staffer said the committee had to "make sure the Trump administration also supports a reform-focused bill."

Reality check: Even if the Senate bill passes, the Trump administration has made it clear it would cut financial support for IHS. The budget, for instance, would eliminate a grant program that helps tribes take over their IHS facilities. And in areas where IHS would gain additional funding, the increased rate would fall short of inflation. Frustration within Native American communities is real.

Go deeper

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

8 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.