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Noem Torpedoed Own IHS Rhetoric with $220M in Sequester Cuts

Rep. Kristi Noem
What? Indian health care costs money?

Desiring re-election, Rep. Kristi Noem has been making noise about the need to improve Indian Health Service. Hmm… would Indian Health Service have been able to improve more if Rep. Noem hadn’t cut $220 million from their budget? The South Dakota Democratic Party (working on a Saturday) thinks so:

“While we support any effort to improve the poor healthcare conditions in tribal communities, we wish Rep. Noem would have been paying more attention when she voted to cut $220 million from Indian Health Services (IHS) in 2011,” said Communication Director Michael Ewald, referring to the federal agency charged with providing adequate healthcare to Native Americans.

Rep. Noem, along with Congressional Republicans, voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011 which caused the automatic budget cuts in 2013 known as “sequestration” which resulted in significant reductions in government services, including IHS.

It had particular harsh impacts on the suicide epidemic on Pine Ridge. Indian Health Board Chairperson Cathy Abramson told lawmakers at the time “behavioral health services on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota will be reduced because of sequestration. She said the reservation suffers regularly “with suicide, alcoholism and other substance-abuse issues.” “There have been 100 suicide attempts in 110 days on Pine Ridge. Because of sequestration they will not be able to hire two mental health service providers,”

“The sequestration cuts are literally a matter of life and death for American Indians,” she said [South Dakota Democratic Party, press release, 2016.01.23].

$220 million? Gee, that money could have paid for more than three years’ worth of the funding swap Governor Daugaard is asking for to fund Medicaid expansion in South Dakota. No wonder Rep. Noem declines to comment on the merits of that plan.

In related news, Rep. Noem’s challenger, Democratic State Rep. Paula Hawks, is going barhopping next Friday, January 29 to talk to voters. I’m sure she’ll be happy to answer your questions about Medicaid, IHS, and Rep. Kristi Noem’s practical opposition to expanding both:

  • 8 a.m., Cafe 81, Salem
  • 10 a.m. Kairos Cafe, Freeman
  • 1 p.m., Open Door Cafe, Menno
  • 2:30 p.m., Main Stop, Scotland
  • 4 p.m., Gibby’s Bar, Tyndall
  • 5:30 p.m. Norm’s Liquor, Springfield


  1. larry kurtz 2016-01-23

    Noem: Medicaid In Lawmaker Funding.

  2. Rich 2016-01-23

    Once a hypocrite, always a hypocrite.

  3. owen reitzel 2016-01-23

    It’ll be nice to get professional troll for Noem Russ Hoop to come here and comment this. Sadly that chicken doesn’t leave the comfort of the Noem webpage

  4. mike from iowa 2016-01-23

    Noem looks like she was just told that was an open mic and not a camera/selfie stick in her face.

  5. jerry 2016-01-23

    Thanks Winston, that was as true then as it is today. NOem is flawed as we all are, but in her case, she has no idea how she is hurting ordinary people. That is not being flawed that is being willfully ignorant, Ms. NOem is the poster child of that. I hope Hawks can come up with the ump to bump her out of the way.

    Speaking of Jeff Barth, why not him as a consideration against Stretch in the senate race?

  6. Roger Cornelius 2016-01-23

    No surprise here.

    Noem talk with forked tongue.

  7. grudznick 2016-01-23

    My belly jiggles like a tub of gelatin as I laugh the deep rumbling laugh of truth.

  8. Winston 2016-01-23

    Jerry, Jeff is definitely on my short list of potential candidates along with Schreck and Lowe to make sure we have a candidate. In fact, Thune once called Barth “One of the Good Guys.” But I question if Thune deserves a “Good Guy” opponent. I would rather like to see a Democratic candidate who came at Thune like a bulldog be it Barth or whoever.

    There are three schools of thought on the 2016 Senate race. One, we can punt like 2010 and put all of our emphasis into Hawks. Two, we can run someone just to fill the slate and not become the image of the Party so that the Hawks’s campaign can dictate the political narrative later this year. Or, three, we can run someone who will dog Thune day and night up until the second Tuesday next November.

    The first strategy or what I call the “Starvation theory” would be a big mistake. It makes the Democratic party look really bad in South Dakota, because what are we really all about if we do not have candidates? It would be a clear sign of philosophical bankruptcy and a further sign that the Party is still merely a congressional party tailored to the interests of a few rather than the many and Party building.

    The second strategy has some merit. Because obviously Hawks’s candidacy is more realistic in terms of a potential victory (That is if you totally subscribe to conventional wisdom for 2016) and meanwhile a Senate candidate could travel the state promoting the SD Democratic Party giving the appearance of a full service political party, while the Hawks’s campaign defines the political narrative. But there is one big negative to this strategy and that is that it continues the congressional party mindset of the South Dakota Democratic Party at the expense of the whole. Sure a senate candidate is a “congressional” candidate themselves, but to demur to the Democratic US House candidate at the expense of the Democratic senate candidate further fuels the manipulative qualities of our Party which we have over the last thirty years perfected to an art form (It’s how Obama beat Clinton. South Dakota talent ((the Obama camp)) ran the numbers against Hillary in the caucus states while she won big in the primary states but who got the Party nomination? Obama.). An art form which lately has been off their game and it can be said it really hasn’t pull off a victory since Sandlin’s special election victory in June of 2004, but regardless, that talent or art (political camp) is merely of a congressional mindset within South Dakota and is very lacking to the rebuilding of a state political party. It has at best trickle-down qualities for the rest of the Party.

    The third strategy, we will call it the “Bulldog strategy” could be explosive. It could ruin Hawks’s chances and we do not want that to happen, but the narrative next fall, if Trump is the Republican nominee, will not be the “Year of the Women” as Hawks and Clinton want it to be, rather it will be the year of “I am as mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more,” and a “Bulldog” candidate can do the best job to fill or compete in that environment regardless of what the Hawks campaign does. A course, if Trump is not the nominee, then the aforementioned points have less credence. Except, when you look at the totality of what Trump, Cruz, and Sanders represent, which is this anti-establishment theme in 2016. Thus, it might be smart to run the “Bulldog” against Thune in 2016 and not door number one or two; and the irony could be that the “Year of the Women” theme although enduring to many of us within the Democratic party would be tangent at best to the reality of the electorate in 2016 and what it takes to win in South Dakota and throughout the nation regardless if you are Hawks running for the US House or the other South Dakota Democratic running for the US Senate from either door number one (well, not one), two, or three…

  9. Winston 2016-01-23

    I might also add, it is imperative that this potential “Bulldog” senate candidate make a pact with fellow South Dakota Democrats, that is if they were to win in a “Hail Mary”/ “Mad as Hell” candidacy, that their future political interests would not only be for their political continuance but also the continuance of the state party as a whole. The state party needs to be one of the members of any true and relevant political family and not merely a step-child.

  10. jerry 2016-01-23

    I would like to see someone embrace Bernie and go with the flow. I really tire of these fence sitters who try to figure out which way the wind blows, it is always wrong, and then act surprised when they get slammed. Barth came out and said what he was doing in no uncertain terms, good stuff. Even people in South Dakota are sick of the games the powers to be have been getting away with. I think that turning point happened when the Feds said we too damn corrupt to handle the EB-5 that was kind of shady to begin with. When you are to crooked to play a gamed system, you are digging under the barrel.

  11. Winston 2016-01-23

    Bernie would be a good candidate, too, especially for door number two. But I am still hoping for the “Bulldog” who is not a Blue dog.

    Our party has become too manipulative and that manipulation has become toxic to our political soul as a party both locally and nationally.

    Isn’t it fair to ask where is our natural candidate or candidates for the US Senate as a Democrat if we are truly a legitimate Party? Should there not be naturally always at least someone ready and waiting? Are you really a baseball time if you do not have a pitcher ready to go? And do you really have your heart into it if you are without a pitcher no matter the challenge? If you truly have a love for the game then a given team should be willing and able to come and play you would think… This is all easy to say and ask, but if there are no natural candidates in waiting then the question becomes whether there is any party at all, rather merely a political turnkey franchise for a few who are open and closed when they want to be ….. And that is the real problem with the South Dakota Democratic Party today and why we need a bulldog and not a blue dog in 2016 for the US Senate….

  12. jerry 2016-01-23

    There would be a substantial crossover from the Independents if there were a bulldog and that dog could follow the lead to be on the down ticket. You can’t get the attention if ya ain’t barking and biting.

  13. MD 2016-01-23

    What has been a bigger issue, yet not talked about is the closing of emergency services at the Rosebud IHS hospital a couple months ago (Probably influenced by IHS cuts as well). People have to drive 20+ miles to receive emergency care and frequently there are no ambulances available on the reservation due to the distances they have to travel to get patients to the hospital in Winner, Martin, or Valentine. So not only are there no mental health services, the traditional catch all safety net is dropping out.

  14. Roger Cornelius 2016-01-23

    Now that Noem has earned herself a seat at the death panel, it is great to see the immediate response from the SDDP and other party leaders.

    It is also time to hold Noem accountable for role in the continued genocide of Native people across the country by voting her out of office.

    At a gathering of Pennington County Democrats of Friday attended by party leaders and Republican Jason Glodt, we were reminded that Daugaard is still plotting to use IHS money to fund Medicaid Expansion. So now, we have Noem taking a bunch of money from IHS and Daugaard taking even more.

    Native Americans just can’t win in this damn state.

  15. Winston 2016-01-23

    “Now that Noem has earned herself a seat at the death panel”

    Roger, well said….

  16. Dana P 2016-01-24

    I would love to go to a Noem townhall and ask (confront) her about this issue as well as other issues. However, I went to one townhall in the past, and she called on only the people who had index cards in their hands. (coincidentally enough, those index cards were the same size and had similar print on them…yeah, those townhalls are staged. no question)

    Just like the farm dust issue in the past……her new chew toy of “Michelle Obama’s horrible school lunch mandates…. and her faux concern for the Native Americans in our state. (the list goes on) Noem is a horrible representative for this state and a horrible person also.

    Roger you are so right. ( I wish you weren’t, but you are) As a new Pennington County resident, I wish I would have gone to the gathering on Friday. Hopefully I am able to make future events.

  17. Roger Cornelius 2016-01-24


    The Pennington County Democrats meet the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Rapid City Public Library, at 6:30, we hope you can make it.

    You can also “like” their Facebook page to keep up with activities and events.

  18. John Wrede 2016-01-24

    IHS Funding isn’t the only thing Noem and her group of conservatives have shot the outside ring of the target off of. They’ve done it with the the USFS and most every agency in the Department of Interior and then come along, in the aftermath, and demand the FS spend more money on Mt. Pine Beetle and Fire Suppression. Conservatives are micro-managers without the least bit of management experience.

  19. paula 2016-01-24

    genocide still in play!!!!

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-24

    Winston—Bulldog is the sole path to victory. Someone banging on Thune’s door as hard as Hawks can bang on Noem’s with arguments like the IHS point makes more room for every Democrat to swing hard.

  21. Roger Elgersma 2016-01-24

    It is just like the Russian lady who married our diplomat told us at democratic forum, if they (political leaders) did not grow up poor they will never understand the people. They are getting into establishment people running Russia again.
    If you inherit the farm and assume that if everyone else worked as hard as you do that they could do ok like you do, then you will not understand what it takes to balance a budget and run the country as well. When I was young sixty to seventy percent tax on the very richest worked and business did well and the poor were taken care of and the budget was balanced. If our economy makes it possible for some to make four hundred times as much as someone else, then the rich can afford more taxes. Reagan was an actor whose specialty was to memorize his lines well. He did not understand economics well enough to know he was talking voodoo economics. After his idea to spend and not tax, we have not balanced a budget very often other than when Clinton was president. But he did it by putting welfare moms to work and raising the taxes.
    Ryan wants us to imagine a theory that if we had low taxes, that it would work out ok. Imagining something that has been proven wrong is just stupid. If we can not learn from history we are not thinking very well. We need to grow up and face reality. The people that learned that there is no free lunch in the depression are now retired and that is why Greenspan was wrong when he said that his mistake was to trust those educated bankers to make good decisions without regulations. They did not have the automatic gut feeling of caution like a depression era person had so they threw caution to the wind and created a housing bubble that was bound to burst and it did.

  22. jerry 2016-01-24

    I hope you are right Cory. I have not heard Hawks coming down on NOem really hard on anything to make her sweat.

  23. Winston 2016-01-24

    Cory – But should this bulldog have a loose leash or should we just let the bulldog have at it? ;-)

    Jerry – I think you are right. Hawks has been too cautious. I guess in their attempt to run a traditional campaign eventually tied to the Hillary camp under the greater banner of “The Year of the Women” they are hoping to win, but even with this strategy in running against another women they need to make a greater distinction, but perhaps that is still coming.

    However, I also do believe the Hawks camp needs to broaden beyond the “The Year of the Women” theme to win. Trump, Cruz, and Sanders have collectively defined and identified what matters in 2016 and Hillary’s credible presences as a winnable female president candidate, although enduring and formidable, will be secondary to the “I am as mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore” theme which seems to be permeating throughout this election cycle and the Hawks camp needs to latch onto this reality.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-24

    Winston, if the bulldog is on anyone’s leash, people will recognize that leash and know that bulldog isn’t really a bulldog. Neither candidate needs to control the other; they need to recognize their mutual interest and do what’s right for themselves and the party. Doing what’s right includes raining fire on Noem, Thune, and the party that would even consider nominating Donald Trump, who I suspect doesn’t know or care one whit about Indians and our treaty obligation to provide them with quality health care.

  25. Winston 2016-01-24

    CAH, that sounds good to me…

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-24

    So we’ve recruited you to run against Thune, right, Winston?

    Oh, and on Trump and Indians:

    Trump bad for Indian Country:

    Trump would revert Denali back to Mt. McKinley:

    Trump knows Indians who are proud of the name the Washington D.C. NFL team uses:

    I love the Internet.

  27. Dana P 2016-01-25

    Thanks for the info, Roger!

  28. leslie 2016-01-25

    Winston i am troubled by your post. SD is a mere farm team w/ bare benches. Owned by the state & ntl gop. Can this anti-manipulative exposure and strategy stand state-wide in-house discussion? Lynn damages SDDP daily on these pages.

  29. leslie 2016-01-25


    Roger C.-@23:06 I don’t trust Daugaard. Do the tribal chairs?
    The Rosebud emergency crisis and medicaid expansion timing are peculiar, as is Noem/Thune’s suicide concern for 2016.

  30. Roger Cornelius 2016-01-25


    I have never known tribal chairs or tribal councils to trust a South Dakota governor or legislature.
    Politicians like Noem prove why they shouldn’t trust the SDGOP. A few weeks ago she was on the Pine Ridge kissing up to tribal members and than goes to D.C. to cut funding for much needed IHS money.
    If I had the influence I once had, I would also suggest tribes sue the state over mismanagement of GEAR UP.

  31. Delores Bruce 2016-06-20

    How many times a year do Thune and/or Noem visit Pine Ridge Reservation each year? Quick, give me a number someone! Of course, in light of the newest helpful gesture by Noem, maybe the folks on the Reservation would rather they not visit. Will it never end?

  32. C Wacondo 2016-06-21

    Trojan horse. Why would any one trust the government anyway?
    Nome rides on the most disadvantage people in this country.
    She has no business in IHS.
    Let her spend the day in the ER’S s then she might see where the money didn’ t go. She can watch suffering, poverty an then go home to her fat life an take some more money away.
    Something horrible is coming thanks to the people in Washington who continue to make healthcare a money maker for insurance’s.
    This was done long before the ax fell.

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