One of the 10 Key Values of the Green Party of Hawai’i is single payer or universal healthcare for all. It is also uniformly supported by international Green Party organizations. The Green Party of Hawai'i gives its enthusiastic support and endorsement of SB1269 and HB129 as currently before the Hawai'i State Senate and House. In addition, the Green Party of Hawai’i is joining with other persons and groups seeking to promote state-based universal health care in Hawai’i and protect Hawai’i’s independent healthcare planning agency, the Hawaii Health Authority, which the Ige administration and powerful legislators are trying to abolish.
In 2009, Governor Abercrombie’s administration created the Hawai'i Health care Authority [HHA], to create Hawaii’s own health care system. Then along came the Affordable Care Act [ACA] and the HHA was put in mothballs, so to speak. HHA was never properly funded yet still exists today. It was and remains the only entity that statutorily has the authority and structure to hit the ground running to plan and organize a single payer or universal health care system for Hawai'i.
Governor Ige and powerful legislators have bills before the Senate (SB977) and House (HB1111) that would kill and abolish the HHA, leaving no entity intact to pursue single payer or universal health care for all. In addition they have introduced bills that would keep Hawai'i in the current system of market based, private sector health care that does not reduce costs or address real patient needs. This affords no relief to our doctors' smothering in new administrative time spent and costs to operate (average $40,000 per year per practice). Further, employers will continue to bear the weight of offering their employees health care insurance including Workmen’s Comp insurance.
55% of U.S. physicians reported feeling “burned out” in December 2015, and more every year.
31% of Oahu primary care practices closed to new referrals in 2016, double the rate in 2015.
47% of primary care practices closed to new Medicare patients in 2016, with more closed for Medicaid.
Multiple other legislative bills are on the docket this session about Hawai'i’s health care system. There are bills that continue the private sector, for profit insurance company models. The flaws in the other bills are too numerous to outline here. The best bills in the interest of the residents of Hawai'i, including their frustrated and vanishing doctors, are SB1269 and HB129.
In light of promises from Washington DC to repeal or otherwise dismantle most of the ACA [Obamacare]; or promises to discontinue Medicaid or Medicare as we know it, Hawai'i needs to be prepared. Governor Ige and the legislature need to listen to the people of Hawai'i. The people plainly want single payer/universal health care over the current failing private sector multiple insurance company models.
The Hawaii Health Authority is our independent policy board that we need to prepare us for universal healthcare. This is especially critical now that the Republicans in Washington are likely to dismantle Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid. For reasons that don't make any sense, the Ige administration wants to abolish the HHA and leave our State government without any real healthcare planning agency.
Please contact your State Senator and State Representative to ask them to kill SB977 and HB1111, and let HHA continue as our healthcare planning agency.