Facing Reality: Hawaii's State Hospitals
by Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
One of the differences between unaccountable government and most businesses in the private sector is the way that government has the ability to ignore market realities until systems ultimately collapse.
For example, to deal with the signs of impending bankruptcy, governments can redefine the meaning of bankruptcy and hide the fact of unsustainable revenues simply by imposing more taxes on the people.
That's what's been happening with the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.
Now, after decades of denying the market reality that shrinking revenues can't match rising labor costs, we are faced with the immediate closure of numerous hospital departments and worker layoffs across the islands. Countless residents will suffer needlessly because of this.
There is, however, a glimmer of hope sitting on the governor's desk awaiting his signature. The legislature has passed a bill allowing the state hospital on Maui to be managed by a successful private hospital corporation.
Managing this transition and ensuring that the most qualified candidate wins the bid has its own challenges, but this is clearly a step in the right direction. A successful public - private partnership on Maui, which could set a pattern for the rest of the state, will promote freer markets, government efficiency, and the provision of crucial hospital services to those in need.
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Video: On the Record with Brian Black
Continuing with the theme of government watchdogs, this episode of E Hana Kakou finds host Keli'i Akina speaking with Brian Black, Executive Director of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest. Listen as Black discusses his continued work to promote transparency and responsiveness in government.
Click the image below to view the interview in its entirety or go here to see it on You Tube.