Palauans, Marshallese and FSM citizens residing in the United States may soon become eligible for US Medicaid program if US congress passes the corona virus relief and year-end funding package that US lawmakers finalized on Sunday.
US Medicaid, funded by US states and federal government, provides health coverage for low income, elderlies, pregnant women, children and people with disabilities in the United States. Micronesians or Compact of Free Association (COFA) citizens are currently not eligible for the program but in the draft corona virus package, the language has been inserted to include citizens of COFA nations.
Lack of health care coverage for many citizens of the COFA nations, particularly the Marshallese have resulted in disproportionate number getting sick and dying from COVId-19 virus. In Guam, Hawaii and northwest United States where many citizens of the COFA nations reside, reports show higher rate of COVID infections amongst COFA citizens than other nationalities.
Medicaid is said to have been one of the federal programs promised Marshallese citizens during the Compact negotiations but was inadvertently removed due to technical error. It has taken over 25 years to try and get this service restored as promised.
The bill still needs to pass both US congress chambers and signed by President Trump before it can take effect.

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