Court: Hawaii not required to pay for migrant care

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HONOLULU (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that Hawaii isn't required to fund Medicaid for migrants from three Pacific Island nations in Micronesia to make up for a reduction in federal funding.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that Hawaii has no constitutional obligation to fill a gap left when Congress cut health care funding for migrants under the Compact of Free Association.

The compact means Palau, Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia citizens can live and work in the U.S. In exchange, the U.S. military controls extensive land and water in the Pacific.

The opinion vacates a preliminary injunction from a lower federal court in Hawaii that stopped state health officials from reducing coverage for migrants by moving them to a more limited health system.

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