KHN Morning Briefing

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These Arkansas Residents Pay Taxes But Won’t Ever Be Able To Qualify For Medicaid, Medicare

There is a large community of people in northwest Arkansas that live in the United States under a treaty that came about when the Marshall Islands declared independence. Although they contribute to taxes and everything else that comes with living in America, they don't have access to safety-net health programs like anyone else would.

Stat: How A Community Slipped Through The Cracks Of The Health Care System
Thousands of people in this northwestern corner of Arkansas, many of them working poor, are from a faraway constellation of islands, the most famous of which is known as Bikini. They can live and work here without visas. Their children attend local schools. They pay federal and state taxes, just like the rest of the community. But in all but the fewest cases they will never be able to qualify for Medicaid or Medicare under current law. The large community of people here from the Marshall Islands, located roughly halfway between Australia and Hawaii, fall into a peculiar gap of the US health care system — and it has left a great many of them in the most precarious of limbos. (Branswell, 4/7)

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