Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, May 15, 2014
Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange most costly in nation
By Malia Zimmerman @ 1:36 PM :: 3059 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Health Care

Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange most costly in nation

THUMBS UP? This photo on the Hawaii Health Connector’ website maintains the public is enthusiastic about Obamacare, but so far just 8,500 people have signed up.

by Malia Zimmerman,, May 15, 2014 

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange, the Hawaii Health Connector, costs the nation’s taxpayers the most per enrollee, according to a new study by Kaiser Health.

Hawaii’s exchange, which has just more than 8,500 people registered, has a tab of about $23,899 per person.

LONE REPUBLICAN: Former Republican Congressman Charles Djou wants to take back his seat in the U.S. House this November and pursue other healthcare options for America

LONE REPUBLICAN: Former Republican Congressman Charles Djou wants to take back his seat in the U.S. House this November and pursue other healthcare options for America

Former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, D-Hawaii, noted Hawaii’s enrollment cost is 26 times the national average, 2 1/2 times the cost for the second most expensive state, North Dakota, and considerably more than the national average of $922 dollars per Obamacare enrollee.

“Government must work to better the lives of our citizens, but Obamacare clearly fails this promised standard. Obamacare’s punitive costs and punishing demands hurt, not help, working people,” said Djou, the only candidate running for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District calling for a complete overhaul of Obamacare.

According to the study, just 8,500 Hawaii residents signed up for the Hawaii Health Connector, while 150,000 people are needed to make the program self-sustainable.

Hawaii received $204 million from the federal government to set up the exchange and build and maintain its website.

The Obamacare exchange will likely cost Hawaii taxpayers another $15 million a year, according to estimates from state lawmakers.

Djou has joined U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, D-Moanalua, and Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom, R-Hawaii, in calling for an exemption to the federal requirement since Hawaii already has had the Prepaid Healthcare Act in place since 1974.

Kaiser study on local Obamacare exchange costs and enrollment

Kaiser study on local Obamacare exchange costs and enrollment

Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act requires business owners to pay for their employees’ health insurance coverage if the employee works 20 hours a week or more.

“Hawaii should be exempt from Obamacare. We should enact sensible medical malpractice tort reform, permit the interstate sale of health insurance and expand the use of health savings accounts,” Djou said.

These state and federal lawmakers aren’t alone in calling for a change to the current marketplace.

Michael Gold, president and CEO of Hawaii Medical Services Association, told the Associated Press last week the state shouldn’t spend more money on Hawaii Health Connector because it’s financially unsustainable and doesn’t work. He also believes Hawaii should ask the federal government for an exception to the part of the Affordable Care Act that requires states to set up and run their own insurance exchanges, calling Hawaii Health Connector a “costly mistake.”

Gold’s comments created a huge buzz among state House lawmakers last week when he called for the local exchange to be shut down because HMSA and Kaiser were the two medical insurance providers that helped spearhead Obamacare in Hawaii and are still providing insurance through the exchange.

DISMAYED: Rep. Della Au Belatti and Rep. Angus McKelvey are outraged over the call to shut down the Obamacare exchange in Hawaii.

House Democrats called a press conference Friday to say they were “baffled” by Gold’s comments.

“Our legislative session concluded not less than 10 days ago and it is very disappointing to see today’s reports from HMSA calling for the shutting down of the Hawaii Health Connector,” said Rep. Della Au Belatti, D-Makiki, chair of the House Health Committee. “During the long and arduous legislative session, state lawmakers were extensively briefed by all stakeholders on the Health Connector, including the governor’s department heads, the attorney general and HMSA on how to restructure, reform and right-size the Connector. It is very disingenuous, disheartening and disappointing to learn that the CEO of HMSA is now calling for the dismantling, shutting down and federalization of the Health Connector.”

Rep. Angus McKelvey, D-West Maui, chair of the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, also expressed dismay over Gold’s comments.

“First of all, the assertion that these waivers exist and that the Legislature did not pursue them is simply not true,” McKelvey said. “On Feb. 4, we wrote to our congressional delegation asking for the very same waiver that Mr. Gold alluded to, and we were told in no uncertain terms that we would not be able to secure them. We also drafted a House resolution asking for a waiver and were told again that we could not.

“Through the legislative process, we learned that the only way we could secure a federal waiver was through the innovation waiver process, which is why we passed House Bill 2581 that will set up a task force to develop a plan to seek the waiver.”

House leaders also attacked Gold and HMSA.

“It seems very strange to me that at the same time HMSA is asking for a rate increase of nearly 13 percent; at the same time that the bill removing HMSA from the board is going to the governor for his signature, that HMSA now suddenly questions the need for a health exchange, an exchange that HMSA sits on and has been involved in from day one. It’s very problematic, but suggests that we should take a closer look at what’s really driving the cost of health care here in Hawaii,” McKelvey said.

House and Senate Democrats passed Senate Bill 2470, which established a Legislative Oversight Committee, requires Hawaii Health Connector to produce an annual sustainability plan and amends procedures and the make-up of the Connector’s board of directors. The legislation appropriates $1.5 million for the Connector’s operations.

A separate House Bill, 2581, establishes an Innovation Waiver Task Force to develop a plan for applying for a state innovation waiver that meets the requirements of federal law.

Slom, the only person to vote against Hawaii Health Connector being established, asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office to investigate the Connector’s spending of the federal grant. He said Hawaii Health Connector has lacked transparency and accountability.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii