AAPI community leaders have praised the passage of the coronavirus relief bill (December 2020) that includes Medicaid access for Pacific Islanders, specifically for the Compact of Free Association (COFA) communities (citizens of the Marshall Islands, Palau and Micronesia) that have been most impacted by COVID-19. This is a historic decision would revise and fix a drafting mistake from the 1996 welfare reform bill that excluded health care from Medicaid for the COFA community.
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) released a statement applauding the restoration of COFA Medicaid access in the stimulus bill. Tavae Samuelu, Executive Director of Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), said: “Medicaid restoration has been a decades long fight, one that began at the moment of exclusion. I’m grateful to the COFA leaders who’ve been some of the most impacted by COVID-19 and continue to be at the helm of caring for our communities.” Read NCAPA’s full statement here.