June 08, 2006

Crapo Supports Methamphetamine and Indian Health Bills

Measures include tools to combat meth abuse and improve health care access needs

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo backed two bills designed to address methamphetamine abuse and the health care needs of Native Americans; both bills were approved today by the Senate Finance Committee, on which Crapo sits.The Indian Health Care Improvement Act, S. 1057, makes certain that Native Americans have access to federal health care programs and ensures fair treatment to Indian Health Services providers. The bill guarantees that Indian Health Services providers are eligible for the same reimbursement under Medicare, Medicaid and the State Childrenâ??s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) as other health care service providers. Additionally, the bill would exempt Native Americans from Medicaid enrollment fees, premiums, deductions, co-payments, cost-sharing or similar service charges provided by those Indian health service providers.â??This bill is vital in providing the resources our Native American tribes need to have access to quality health care,â?? said Crapo. â??This is another step to continue supporting needed programs to empower Native Americans and their future generations.â?? The second bill approved, the Improving Outcomes for Children Affected by Methamphetamine Act, creates a grant program, to assist children in households affected by meth. This program would provide grants to all state child welfare agencies and service providers, local law enforcement, and others for family-based drug treatment services, early intervention services, child and family counseling, and mental health services. The bill would also reauthorize mentoring programs for children of prisoners as well as the Safe and Stable Families child welfare program. â??Methamphetamine abuse destroys families throughout Idaho and this bill will help stop that abuse,â?? Crapo said. â??By placing these tools into the hands of those who need it most, we can combat this rising problem.â??Crapo, also a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, has worked with his colleagues on both committees to craft a package of Native American health care bills that focus on the special needs of tribal members.