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Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill Relating to Payments to Bernalillo County, New Mexico, for Care of Indians.

July 14, 1960

I AM withholding my approval from H.R. 11545, "To amend the Act of October 31, 1949, with respect to payments to Bernalillo County, New Mexico, for furnishing hospital care for certain Indians."

A 1949 law authorized the Government to contribute $1,500,000 toward construction of a hospital in Bernalillo County upon Government donated land. In return, the county must make available, when required, at least 100 beds for the care of eligible Indians. further, the cost of caring for Indians admitted to the hospital was to be paid by the United States and, as an experiment, the Government undertook to guarantee the county a payment at least equal to the cost of operating 80 per cent of the beds reserved for Indians irrespective of the number actually hospitalized.

The minimum guaranty provision, previously twice extended and now expired as of June 30, 1960, would be extended for still another year under H.R. 11545.

Ordinarily in such cases the United States pays for Indian care on the basis of actual hospitalization. Accordingly, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, in reporting to the Congress in 1957 pursuant to the original law, recommended that the experimental 80 per cent minimum guaranty be permitted to expire. The Congress nevertheless extended the guaranty provision for another three years.

funds for contract hospital care should be available for expenditure wherever the health needs of Indian patients so require, and no portion of them should be mandatorily tied to a single contract facility without regard to actual need or use. Moreover, because other Government service contracts for Indian care do not include a minimum payment guaranty, it would be highly inequitable to continue this provision solely for the Bernalillo County Hospital.

Finally, the completion of other facilities now under construction will in all likelihood reduce the number of Indian patients at Bernalillo Hospital and the bill would thus mean unnecessary expense to the Government and without any corresponding advantage, either to the Government or to this program.

For these reasons, I am unable to approve this bill.


Note: The memorandum was released at the U.S. Naval Base, Newport, R.I.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill Relating to Payments to Bernalillo County, New Mexico, for Care of Indians. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235071

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