Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Final brief filed by state in attempt to cut off medical services for Micronesians, other Pacific migrants
by Larry Geller
In a budget address delivered today, Governor Neil Abercrombie outlined the fiscal challenges facing the state. Among them, he said, are potential cuts in federal Medicaid assistance to states, and he specifically mentioned that the federal government is not paying for services to Pacific migrants.
What he did not mention is that his proposed solution is to kill them off. That’s what would happen if the state wins its appeal in a case now before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges. Deprived of necessary medical care such as dialysis and chemotherapy, it is unquestionable that lives would be put at risk and lost.
The state filed final briefs today in Tony Korab, et al v. Patricia McManaman, et al., seeking to have a preliminary injunction overturned. The appeal was filed under former Republican Governor Linda Lingle, but has been continued under Democrat Neil Abercrombie.
It is not too harsh to say that the state administration’s decision to continue the appeal will result in deaths. When Lingle sent out her “death letters” in 2009:
Will Swain, president of Pa Emman Kabjere, a group of 165 Marshallese cancer and dialysis patients, said many dialysis patients simply stopped treatment on Sept. 1, 2009, after receiving a letter from the state informing them they will no longer have coverage for dialysis.
"We've already lost 27 since Sept. 1, 2009," said Swain.
The state’s brief, available in full below, reads like a cold legal argument. Should the state prevail, it will leave the Micronesians and other Pacific migrants once more without access to life-saving medical treatment that other residents of Hawaii have.
For the plaintiff’s closing brief and an amicus brief filed by several organizations on their behalf, see this earlier article.
The state can still withdraw its appeal. A legislative briefing has been tentatively scheduled for Monday, August 22, 2011 at 10:00 by Rep. John Mizuno, but so far there has been no official notice posted about the meeting.
There are just times when I am not proud of my state or my country...this is one of those times.....the US pollutes the Marshall Islands with cancer causing radiation, and then denys treatment. What kind of monsters are we???