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Senate Continues Consideration of Indian Health Care Bill

On February 14, the Senate continued its debate on a bill (S. 1200) to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (P.L. 94-437). The Senate began its consideration of the measure in January (see The Source, 1/25/08). The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill on September 12 (see The Source 9/14/07); the Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved it on May 10 (see The Source, 5/11/07). Final passage of the measure is expected following the President’s Day recess.

During consideration of the bill, the Senate approved, 94-0, an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to ensure that, if requested by a victim of sexual assault, rape, and other forms of sexual violence, a defendant is tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) “not later than 48 hours after the date on which the applicable information or indictment is presented.” The amendment would require the victim and the defendant to be notified of the test results as soon as practicable. The amendment also would provide victims with follow-up testing for HIV and STDs as medically necessary, as well as sexual abuse, HIV, and STD counseling.

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