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Posted: Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 8:54 AM HST

Senate group OKs Medicaid for Micronesian migrants

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) The latest version of the U.S. Senate immigration reform bill restores Medicaid eligibility to migrants from three Pacific island nations in Micronesia.

Citizens of the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia have the right to live and work in the U.S. under international treaties.

In exchange, the U.S. controls extensive strategic land and water in the Pacific Ocean.

But in 1996, Congress revoked migrants' eligibility for Medicaid. That shifted the financial burden for health care to states and territories.

A Senate committee voted Tuesday to reinstate eligibility. Sen. Mazie Hirono from Hawaii says the amendment will save Hawaii millions of dollars each year.

More than 50,000 people have already moved to the U.S. That's almost a fourth of the population.



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