Sunday, July 05, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, May 18, 2014
Congressional Delegation Blocks Obamacare Exemption to Avoid “Awkward Political Narrative”
By Andrew Walden @ 8:46 PM :: 6312 Views :: Democratic Party, Health Care, Politicians, Obama

by Andrew Walden

Must Hawaii taxpayers and ratepayers pay millions to keep the delegation from having to ask President Obama for a politically embarrassing Hawaii Obamacare exemption?

The Star-Advertiser March 2, 2014, opined, “Don't spend state funds on Connector” and explained:

» Hawaii's senators and representatives should start networking with other states struggling with insurance exchanges. Together they should push hard for an amendment that would allow a limited opt-out as soon as possible.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does include a provision for state waivers, but those don't become an option before 2017. This date needs to be pushed up as early as possible. Even if the federal funds can be used past this year, Hawaii can't keep this agency running as is beyond 2015.

» Whether Hawaii needs an exchange at all is in doubt, and congressional leaders need to collaborate with state lawmakers on ways to shrink the whole Connector footprint.

 HNN April 1, 2014 reported:

The governor plans to push for a waiver, that could, for instance, give the departments of Health, and Human Services broader range to facilitate insurance for residents. He said, "I think in retrospect if we simply allowed the Department of Health and Department of Human Services to run it through Medicaid, and added personnel I think we probably could have registered more."

Flash forward six weeks.  The Legislative session is over.  Neither the Legislature nor the Governor stepped up.  And, riding the latest wave of Obamacare rate hikes and operating losses, HMSA CEO Michael Gold belatedly senses the danger.  In a May 9 statement, Gold points out:

Hawaii’s situation is unique. Thanks to our current insurance laws, which have been in place for more than 40 years, all Hawaii companies must provide health insurance for employees who work more than 20 hours a week. The cost to keep the Hawaii Health Connector open, as a place for businesses to buy health insurance, far outweighs the benefits.

Hawaii can save significantly by having businesses go directly to health insurers. HMSA is set up to meet that demand. Efficiently and economically. Spending millions of dollars for the Hawai'i Health Connector to act as a middleman for the business market doesn’t make financial sense.

We need the governor to seek a waiver from the federal government this year. Hawaii can make an excellent case why it doesn’t need the SHOP (the online health plan marketplace for businesses). If we wait until 2017, when the Affordable Care Act says states can apply for waivers, millions more will have been spent unnecessarily.

There are benefits to having an online marketplace for individuals because of the tax subsidy.  If not the Hawaii Health Connector, then the federal exchange. The amount of individuals who signed up for a health plan through the Connector justifies the individual marketplace. The same can’t be said for the business side.

But in an angry response to Gold, Hawaii State Reps Mc Kelvey and Belatti, and State Senator Roz Baker let the cat out of the bag.  It turns out that Hawaii's Congressional Delegation is blocking any application for an early waiver:

…the assertion that these waivers exist and that the Legislature did not pursue them is simply not true. 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 it.

We also drafted a House resolution asking for a waiver and were told again that we would not be able to get permission.

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….

Why would Schatz, Hanabusa, Gabbard and Hirono seek to stick voters with millions of dollars of rate hikes and more taxpayer waste in an election year?  The Star-Advertiser May 18, 2014 has the answer:

Gold advocates that the state pursue a waiver now, rather than waiting for 2017, when the law provides for state "innovation waivers." Private insurers have their own corporate interests at heart when they push to remove the "middle man," but Gold is right that the exchange is not a good fit.

And although an accelerated pursuit would be a heavy lift politically, the top-tier leaders of the state -- the governor and our congressional delegates -- must find a way to override the health exchange requirement, or at least to scale it back, for the public good....

State legislators say they inquired about a pre-2017 waiver and were rebuffed. There may be an aversion to pushing this point -- Hawaii is the president's home state. Seeking a waiver from his signature law during an election year will start a political narrative the Democratic leadership would find awkward.

But the public interest, not politics, has to be the overriding concern.

How much is your family paying to protect the National Democrats from “awkward political narratives”? 

How much more will you have to pay in a futile effort to hide the fact that Obama’s signature achievement is a miserable failure?

Who will put the public interest above partisan talking points?

---30---

The Awkward Narrative you must pay to hide: Hawaii to be First State to Dump Obamacare Health Exchange?

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

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

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

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

Habele.org

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

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

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

HPACC

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

KeyWiki

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

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

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

NARTH

Natatorium.org

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

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

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

SenatorFong.com

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

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT