Riccelli to attend Marshallese Community Health Forum this Saturday


WHAT: A community health forum to discuss the historical and current issues impacting the health of the Marshallese community and their need for access to affordable health care in Washington state. Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) will talk about a measure to address this issue in the 2018 legislative session.

WHERE: Spokane First Church, 828 W. Indiana, Spokane, WA 99205

WHEN: Saturday, December 16, 2017 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm


Citizens of Compact of Free Association (COFA) nations find themselves caught between the changing winds of federal and state policy. United States nuclear testing has led to illnesses related to radiation exposure in COFA nations. The United States has a trusteeship relationship with these nations under which citizens of COFA nations may travel freely and have medical benefits.

In the 1950s the United States conducted over 60 nuclear atmospheric bomb tests that spread radiation from nuclear fallout throughout the region. As a result, COFA people continue to suffer high rates of cancer and other radiation-related diseases and chronic illnesses.

Under COFA, citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau may live and work in the United States, serve in the military, and are eligible for premium assistance through the Exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, but are ineligible for Medicaid.

A measure introduced during the 2017 legislative session, House Bill 1291, would set up a COFA Premium Assistance Program for individuals who are Washington residents, citizens of COFA nations, enroll in Silver plans, have incomes that are less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level, and are ineligible for federal or state medical programs.

The bill passed the House but did not get the support of the then Republican-controlled Senate. Rep. Riccelli, one of the bill’s sponsors, has pledged to bring the legislation back in the 2018 session, which begins on January 8.


For more information on the event, please contact Ryan Douse from the Marshallese Community Advisory Board at 509-607-2770 or Ryand1@spokaneschools.org 

For more information about Rep. Riccelli, contact marcus.riccelli@leg.wa.gov or go to http://housedemocrats.wa.gov/legislators/marcus-riccelli/