APIAHF/AAPCHO Organizational Sign-On Letter in Support of COFA Medicaid Restoration
Senator Hirono (D-HI) and Representative Cardenas (D-CA) recently introduced legislation to restore Medicaid eligibility to citizens of the Compact of Free Association (COFA) nations who live and work in the U.S. The Covering Our FAS Allies (COFA) Act (S. 2218 and H.R.4821) would undo a legislative mistake that has persisted for 23 years.

Under the Compacts, in exchange for permitting the U.S. exclusive military use and strategic positioning in the Pacific, the citizens of the Freely Associated States (FAS) of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau are able to can travel to, live and work in the U.S. without a visa. The U.S. has a decades long military presence in these nations, including the testing of dozens of nuclear bombs in these islands during the Cold War. However, when living in the U.S., COFA citizens are not eligible for many the federal programs their taxes fund, including Medicaid and CHIP.

This ineligibility stems from when drafters of the 1996 welfare reform legislation inadvertently excluded COFA citizens from the list of qualified immigrants. The result has been serious gaps in care for many of the over 61,000 individuals residing in the U.S. and its territories under that status. COFA communities face health disparities among chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, that can worsen when left untreated. These conditions can be linked to U.S. military presence in the FAS nations. Please see more here: (bit.ly/APIAHFcofafactsheet2019)

INVITATION TO SIGN-ON: The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) in partnership with COFA leaders from across the country invite your organization to sign-on to this letter to members of Congress to support the COFA Act.

READ THE LETTER HERE: (bit.ly/2019COFAorgletter)
See Bill Text and Cosponsors: Senate (bit.ly/SenateCOFAbill) and House (bit.ly/HouseCOFAbill)

DEADLINE IS: Thursday, November 14th, 2019

FOR QUESTIONS: Contact Ben D'Avanzo - bdavanzo@apiahf.org

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