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No Cut in Care at Hawaii for Migrants

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No Cut in Care at Hawaii for Migrants

No Cut in Care at Hawaii for Migrants

On September 1, 2009 the District Judge of United States, J. Michael Seabright gave verdict that the government of Hawaii must carry on with offering chemotherapy and dialysis treatment services to the people, who have migrated from the Pacific Islands and affected with cancer and kidney disorders.

Judge Seabright commissioned a provisional limiting order restraining the Hawaiian government from issuing a new, restricted health care program meant to save a sum of 15 million dollars. The program was planned to initiate from September 1, 2009 itself.

Seabright's verdict ignited a hope in the hearts of the people who have migrated from the Palau, Marshall and the Micronesia islands to Hawaii. Previous to this, the migrants argued the fact that the US government and the Hawaiian government were not keeping their commitment to offer better health care services to the Pacific Islanders, which they have made earlier. Even it was planned that there will be a cut in health care services for these migrants.

But the verdict brought relief for the migrants for the time being. Seabright's judgment obligated the availability of medical insurance coverage for health care services like chemotherapy, dialysis, physician visits and prescription medications. This will help many of the ill and senior migrants to avail better health care.

The Government of United States entered into an agreement with the Pacific Islands decades ago, as per the following terms:

  • US promised would offer monetary support to the islands and its residents.
  • US also promised to offer better health care to the migrants.
  • In return, US government was granted permission to test nuclear ammunitions including other defense rights.

So Seabright's decision became a testimony of the promises made by the United States to the Pacific Islanders.

However, the government of Hawaii made no remarks after Seabright's verdict. Hawaii is one of the states of the nation that is experiencing tremendous economic downturn. Because of having shortage of required budget, it desired to shift around 7,000 lawful migrants, into the newly planned health insurance curriculum, termed as Basic Health Hawaii. Nearly hundred of these migrants avail dialysis treatments funded by the Hawaiian government.

On August 31, 2009, the state declared that the federal budget has 1.5 million dollars to offer coverage for dialysis till the next two years. However, the budget amount didn't include the money required to offer coverage for branded prescription medications and chemotherapy. Seabright thus stopped the plan from getting implemented.

The declaration about the new health plan was done a month earlier devoid of any public hearings. Since, majority of migrants are unable to speak or write English, they failed to understand the various terms of the health plan and the alterations that would be introduced in their insurance coverage. All these migrants were notified about the new health plan and the changes of their coverage, but it was of no use as the medium of communication was English.

Seabright remarked that the new health plan might have reduced health care benefits for the migrants indirectly if it would have got implemented. The next hearing has been scheduled to October 19, 2009 for further considerations.


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