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Trump Admin Urged to Restore Medicaid Eligibility for FAS Citizens

February 7, 2018, 1:43 PM HST
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Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, pressed the Insular and International Affairs Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech for a commitment from the Trump Administration to support the restoration of Medicaid eligibility for citizens of the Freely Associated States (FAS) who now reside in the United States.

“Many of us, particularly from the Hawaii delegation, have been working very hard to restore Medicaid eligibility for FAS citizens,” Sen. Hirono told Assistant Secretary Domenech. “I would appreciate your support in restoring Medicaid eligibility for them because it costs certain places such as Hawai‘i and Guam millions of dollars more than the $30 million appropriated every year in Compact Impact Funding.”

The FAS include the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau, which each have entered into a Compact of Free Association that in part allows their citizens to live and work in the U.S. In return, the U.S. is responsible for the defense of the FAS and maintains exclusive military jurisdiction to the territory of the FAS for security purposes.

Last year, Sen. Hirono led the Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation in introducing the COFA Act—a bill that would restore Medicaid eligibility for FAS citizens. In 2013, Sen. Hirono successfully included an amendment that would have restored FAS citizen access to Medicaid in the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill that the House of Representatives refused to take up.

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