New oral arguments have been tentatively set for September 18, 2012. Oral arguments had been previously scheduled for June 18, 2012.
Korab v. McManaman is a state appeal seeking to overturn a federal court temporary injunction against Basic Health Hawai'i, a state healthcare program that substantially diminishes government-funded health care services for resident citizens of the Freely Associated States. Under the program, other legal immigrants are provided equal health care services as U.S. citizens after a five-year period; however, Compact of Free Association residents -- who are allowed to live, work, and seek educational opportunities in the United States per long-standing agreements between their home countries and the U.S. -- are never eligible for such services. Previous state law provided equal services for legal immigrants, Compact of Free Association residents, and U.S. citizen residents of Hawai'i.
To justify its case, the state of Hawai'i has cited a 1996 federal law that cut all federal funding for health care and other benefits for legal immigrant residents of less than 5 years, and for Compact of Free Association citizens permanently. Since that time, and until Basic Health Hawai'i was implemented, the state of Hawai'i continued to treat all of its residents equally with respect to their basic health care safety net needs.
The diminished health care opportunities under Basic Health Hawai'i have raised particular concerns for Compact of Free Association residents, due to high incidences of radiogenic diseases associated with U.S. nuclear testing within the Freely Associated States, as well as dietary diseases related to U.S. administration and de facto control over infrastructure and land use decisions in the covered countries. During the months in which Basic Health Hawai'i was in effect, over 27 deaths were cited as a result of inadequate coverage for Compact of Free Association residents.