President Trump’s repeated use of the name “Pocahontas” to refer to Sen. Elizabeth Warren has frequently been noted by Native American tribes as hugely disrespectful and then some, so, the next bit of news probably won’t be received well. That is, Trump administration may soon further degrade its relationship with the Native American community by requiring tribe members to work in order to access Medicaid benefits.
Several tribal leaders have pushed for exemptions to the new work requirement rules for Medicaid coverage, but the Trump administration wants to go against centuries-old policies. Via Politico:
But the Trump administration contends the tribes are a race rather than separate governments, and exempting them from Medicaid work rules — which have been approved in three states and are being sought by at least 10 others — would be illegal preferential treatment. “HHS believes that such an exemption would raise constitutional and federal civil rights law concerns,” according to a review by administration lawyers.
The tribes, however, have countered that they are constitutionally protected from these Medicaid requirements because they’re separate governments, which was recognized by treaties signed by George Washington and further affirmed by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. Yet Health and Human Services has reportedly rejected entreaties by the tribes for these exemptions.
According to several sources who spoke with Politico, the rejections were driven by political appointees in Health and Human Services’ general counsel and civil rights offices.