Congress should help pay for migrants' health care

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 18, 2010

Hawaii has been saddled since 1986 with providing health care to low-income migrants from Palau, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia that had been promised by the federal government. A federal judge’s rejection of the state’s limitation of their health care should spur an urgent, renewed effort to make Congress pay more of the tab.

The Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan congressional research arm, is working on an audit of federal funds that have gone to pay for the health care promised under the Compacts of Free Association Act, which gave the Pacific nationals the right to live and work as “migrants” in the U.S. The audit is sure to conclude that the funds are inadequate, which is already woefully known here.

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