VIDEO: 9th Circuit Decision on Health Care for COFA Migrants in Hawaii May Effect Guam


Guam – A ruling this week from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals may have an impact on the cost to GovGuam of providing medical care for compact migrants.


The Appeals Court decided that the State of Hawaii has no constitutional obligation to provide medical care to migrants under the Compact of  Free Association after Congress cut health care funding for the Compact agreements back in 1996.

Public Health Director Jim Gillan says the ruling does not mean that Guam will no longer have to pay for medical care for COFA citizens here. But it may allow for a different, lower cost health plan for migrants.

However he emphasized that is a policy decision the Governor will have to make.


The 9th Circuit opinion vacated a State court injunction that stopped Hawaii health officials from reducing coverage for compact migrants. Hawaii was not trying to eliminate all health coverage for migrants. The State was merely trying to implement a more limited health care system because the cost of full coverage was so high.