NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill to expand healthcare coverage for Pacific Islanders, and improving equity for Washingtonians on March 22.
The Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs called it “a historic day for Marshallese, Chuukese, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Kosraean, and Palauan communities across Washington.”
Citizens from those areas, subject to a U.S. diplomatic act known as the Compact of Free Association (COFA), are allowed to live and work in the United States and join the U.S. military.
They also pay taxes, yet they have severely limited access to Medicaid. Now, they will have access to affordable healthcare.
Many COFA Islanders suffer from chronic health conditions due to U.S. use of the COFA Islands as a nuclear test site in the mid-1990s.
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