Supreme Court Ruling: U.S. Must Cover More of Native American Tribes’ Healthcare Costs


Key Takeaways:

  1. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government has under-funded Native American tribes’ healthcare programs for 30 years and must now cover additional costs.
  2. The decision could result in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services paying between $800 million and $2 billion more annually.
  3. The ruling is a significant victory for tribal sovereignty and the quality of healthcare on reservations.

U.S. Supreme Court Mandates Increased Healthcare Funding for Native American Tribes

By Samuel Lopez, USA Herald

[USA HERALD] – In a close 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court determined that the federal government has been underfunding healthcare programs run by Native American tribes for decades. The court found that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must cover the overhead costs that tribes incur when spending money from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers.

This decision marks a pivotal victory for the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona and the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming, both of which had sued over the inadequate funding. Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by the court’s three liberal justices and conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, a staunch advocate for Native American rights, wrote the majority opinion. The ruling upheld previous decisions by the 9th and 10th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals.