Health & Spirit

Questions about qualifications could derail Trump's Indian Health nominee

Andrew Siddons, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Health & Fitness

"He was pointing out to me the issues that he has with Indian health services. That's when I asked him, 'Hey, have you thought about doing the position yourself?'" Mullin said. According to Mullin, Weaver laughed him off, but Mullin urged him to think about it. A month later, Weaver said he would be interested. Mullin, who chairs a House task force on the Indian Health Service, said he suggested Weaver to the administration.

Mullin thinks Weaver's business experience and desire to fix the IHS are more important than experience as a physician or running hospital systems. "The IHS system has been a mess. The funding is low. There's no standing operating procedures. There's a lot of areas that can be improved on. I feel like he understands those and can get them improved," Mullin said.

Weaver does not have an extensive political background, and before 2017, two of his political contributions were to Democrats.

But a white paper he published in January 2017 may have also caught the administration's eye. In the paper, he discusses provisions in the 2010 health care law that benefited Native Americans and, he argued, needed protecting.

However, he opened the paper by calling President Barack Obama's signature law a "failed effort" that did not provide coverage to the uninsured, was "not affordable" and had out-of-pocket maximums that made "access to health care unattainable."


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