Recognizing the unique treaty between the United States and three Micronesian nations, the Oregon Legislature has approved a measure intended to help certain residents with health care costs.

The bill sets up a premium assistance program, one administered by the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services, to provide “financial assistance with health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs” for Pacific Islanders legally residing in Oregon under the Compact of Free Association.

The Medicaid-like health insurance coverage is expected to help 1,500 adult COFA Oregonians whose income falls below 138 percent of the federal poverty limit.

The COFA Alliance National Network of Oregon.
The COFA Alliance National Network of Oregon. CANN

Assuming Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat signs the measure — chances are good, I’m told — House Bill 4071 would take effect in January.

Members of the COFA Alliance National Network pushed for the legislation to support Oregon residents from the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau.

Oregonians are the first in the nation “to realize that there is more than just the unique treaty, there is human justice and a cause to this issue on Healthcare for the COFA population, and done something about it,” CANN said in a recent press release.

As Civil Beat has reported, health care is a major reason Micronesians move to the U.S.

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