Vision:

COFA migration

Back in 1996, Congress made a misguided decision in passing legislation that took away federal Medicaid benefits for migrants from Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.

Back in 1996, Congress made a misguided decision in passing legislation that took away federal Medicaid benefits for migrants from Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. This has placed a major unfunded mandate on the backs of Hawaii taxpayers, with the bill totaling $30 to $40 million a year to pay for health services for COFA migrant families.  In May 2015, I joined with Senator Schatz, Senator Hirono, and Rep. Takai in introducing the "Restoring Medicaid for Compact of Free Association Migrants Act." This legislation would reinstate Medicaid benefits for COFA migrants. We need to continue working toward the passage of this legislation to right a wrong that has gone on for far too long. The federal government made a promise to these individuals, and it must uphold that commitment. Another important piece of legislation that I've cosponsored is H.R. 854, the "Compact-Impact Aid Act of 2015." This bill would appropriate $185 million in federal funding to help states, like Hawaii, to help defray costs for providing services to COFA migrants.