Hundreds rally in support of Micronesian medical benefits

Hundreds of people from the Micronesian community and their supporters rallied along Ala Moana Blvd. Wednesday morning in support of keeping their medical benefits.

The event included a march from St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church on N. King Street to the Prince Kuhio Federal Building on Ala Moana Blvd.

Earlier this month, a court ruling suggested the state would no longer have to pay for medical expenses not covered by federal dollars.

An agreement with the federal government allows citizens from Palau, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia to live and work in the U.S. and receive benefits.

“We are hopeful that it would be a decision in favor of life, not a decision to totally neglect or take away health care from a group of people,” said supporter Josie Howard.

For now, the state is not going along with the court’s ruling.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is pushing to have the federal government pick up the tab. She’s introduced a bill to have “the federal government reimburse states for the cost of providing medical coverage.”

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