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Friday, August 22, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - Native American Indian Affairs, the State’s Healthy Indiana Plan, and NE Indiana gaming

Indiana Gaming Insight, a sister publication of Indiana Legislative Insight, leads its August 25th subscription-only newsletter with a story reporting that "The Governor makes his eight appointments to the 15-member Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission, suggesting that the moribund panel may meet for the first time since 2008 ... when mass resignations over Daniels Administration treatment of the Commission, 'broken promises,' and the lack of a staff director left it in limbo." More from the long story:

The timing of reconstitution of the Native American Commission is, however, fascinating. Just earlier this month, Tom LoBianco of the Associated Press revealed that the State’s Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP 2.0) Medicaid waiver was rejected by the feds because it failed to include input from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, an oversight the Family and Social Services Administration quickly scrambled to correct. That federal action was not revealed by FSSA this Summer when media inquiries were made about federal action

Of course, your favorite gaming newsletter reminded you recently that many in northern Indiana are expecting to learn yet this Summer whether the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs will approve a request filed two years ago this month by the same Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians to take some 165 acres of land in trust near downtown South Bend for housing and a tribal government facility . . . along with a possible casino replete with a hotel and restaurants and ancillary facilities – that would not be subject to state taxes.

This prospect has the five Indiana commercial casinos along Lake Michigan running scared, and state officials and analysts who understand the tax implications of a tax-free Native American casino in North Central Indiana just outside DTSB petrified. [AP link inserted by ILB]

This long August 9th IndyStar "Behind Closed Doors" item by Barb Berggoetz includes:
State officials have now met a federal requirement to seek feedback from a 525-member Native American tribe about Indiana's proposed expansion of its low-income health insurance program. * * *

This week, the new secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, John Wernert, a governor's representative and other FSSA officials even traveled to Dowagiac, Mich., the base of the Pokagon band, to discuss the proposal with tribal leadership and answer questions.

While the Pokagon Band supports expanding Medicaid access to more adults, it expressed concerns with the plan in an Aug. 4 letter to the state. The tribe's medical director proposed the Native Americans be carved out of the plan, as other states have done, because it would "unnecessarily complicate administration of the Medicaid program for both the tribe and the state." * * *

The Department of Health and Human Services hasn't yet posted the proposal for the required 30-day public comment period. The agency will not act on the request until at least 15 days after the comment period ends. State officials have said they want to roll out the program at the beginning of the year, but the specific time depends on the outcome of the waiver review.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 22, 2014 01:50 PM
Posted to Indiana Government