Thursday, June 17, 2010

HAWAII IMPROVES MEDICAL PLAN FOR MIGRANTS

State finds way to cover emergency dialysis

Radio Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 16, 2010) – A lengthy legal battle to secure the right to healthcare for Pacific Islanders living in the U.S. state of Hawaii has resulted in a new, revised plan for low income migrants.

For months Hawaii had been trying to transfer immigrants from Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands to a less comprehensive insurance plan.

That would have meant many would have lost access to vital treatment like dialysis and chemotherapy.

Elizabeth Dunne, lawyer and a former Senior Staff Attorney with Lawyers for Equal Justice in Honolulu says the new plan is an improvement but still falls short of constituting comprehensive health coverage.

"The new program does provide some additional benefits, primarily dialysis, which is actually not provided on the new program but as an emergency service," she said. "The state had not found a way to cover that before and has now come up with a way that dialysis patients can receive dialysis at dialysis centres so we're very pleased with that result but we still have a number of concerns regarding the new program."

Those concerns include a lack of cover for some dialysis drugs and restrictions on the number of chemotherapy treatments.

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