Heinrich Works To Guarantee Tribal Health Authorities Access To Strategic National Stockpile

WASHINGTON (Jan. 7, 2022) – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is part of a bicameral group of lawmakers that introduced the Tribal Medical Supplies Stockpile Access Act, legislation to guarantee that the Indian Health Service (IHS), Tribal health authorities, and urban Indian organizations have access to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), a federal repository of drugs and medical supplies that can be tapped if a public health emergency could exhaust local supplies. 

Currently, IHS and Tribal health authorities' access to the SNS is limited and is not guaranteed in the SNS statute. In contrast, states' and large municipalities' public health authorities have ready, direct access to the SNS. 

“There’s no reason that Tribal communities should lack access to essential medical equipment and supplies in any scenario – especially a global pandemic,” said Heinrich. “I’m proud to join Senator Warren and my colleagues to introduce this legislation that guarantees IHS facilities, Tribal health departments, and urban Indian organizations have access to the Strategic National Stockpile. This will make a world of difference in successfully obtaining life-saving resources for Tribal communities when they most need it.” 

In the Senate, the Tribal Medical Supplies Stockpile Access Act is led by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.). The legislation is led in the House by U.S. Representatives Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and cosponsored by U.S. Representative Sharice Davids (D-Kan.). 

The Tribal Medical Supplies Stockpile Access Act is supported by the National Indian Health Board, the National Congress of American Indians, the National Council of Urban Indian Health, United South and Eastern Tribes Sovereignty Protection Fund, Seattle Indian Health Board, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

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