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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

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas case, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."

5 hours ago - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the FDA Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.