HAWAI‘I MAY GET HELP IN HOSTING MICRONESIANS

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HAWAI‘I MAY GET HELP IN HOSTING MICRONESIANS

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i (July 1, 2001 – Honolulu Star-Bulletin/PINA Nius Online)---Hawai‘i may get help from the United States government to offset expenses arising from America's compacts of free association with three Micronesian countries, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported.

The countries are the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau.

The United States Senate Appropriations Committee has approved giving $5 million to the U.S. Office of Insular Affairs, the newspaper said.

The funds are included in the fiscal 2002 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, which now goes to the full Senate for a vote, it said.

Susan Chandler, director of the Hawai‘i state Department of Human Services, told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin: "Any help that we can get from the federal government is greatly appreciated."

In 1996 the federal government excluded Micronesians from the state Medicaid and Med-QUEST programs, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin said. Yet, Chandler said, there are significant health costs to the state for Micronesians in Hawai‘i who have serious conditions.

Because Micronesians in Hawai‘i are under a special classification, the state has to fully pay for their medical expenses, said Chandler. She added she would like the law changed to include Micronesians in the medical plans.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin said in 1999, Gov. Ben Cayetano asked the Department of Interior for $11.5 million to reimburse Hawai‘i for the welfare, health care, education and crime costs of about 6000 Micronesians in Hawai‘i.

For additional reports from The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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