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Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Ige Still Has No Answers For His HHSC Fiscal Crisis
By News Release @ 5:03 AM :: 3644 Views :: Health Care, Politicians

Ige Still Has No Answers For His HHSC Fiscal Crisis

News Release from Hawaii Republican Party October 7, 2014

At the KHON2/AARP debate tonight, Senator David Ige was once again forced to defend his failed leadership on the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation and offered no new ideas on how to solve the fiscal crisis he is responsible for. Senator Ige's leadership has forced these state hospitals cut the services that Hawaii seniors rely on, particularly on the neighbor islands.

"Senator Ige still has no new plan to solve the fiscal crisis he helped create at the endangered state hospitals that are now cutting services and laying off healthcare workers. Clearly Hawaii seniors cannot afford four more years of the same failed leadership." --Hawaii Republican Party Communications Advisor Ted Kwong

BACKGROUND:

IGE TAKING FIRE FOR FAILED STATE HOSPITAL LEADERSHIP

Star Advertiser Columnist Richard Borreca Wrote Last Tuesday That Senator Ige Had No Excuse For His Failed Leadership During A Debate Last Week. "Ige shot back that, he knew about the problem and has been on it since way back when he was Health Committee chairman. 'I did pass a measure that restructured the hospital system and the boards. It does have the opportunity for transition to public-private partnership. I got consensus and I moved it forward,' Ige said. Well, that was five years ago and even Ige had to admit that back then, no private partners wanted to play." (Richard Borreca, "The power of public unions is still a significant issue,"Honolulu Star Advertiser, 9/30/14)

  • 'You were chair of the most powerful committee in the Legislature; if anyone wants to move a bill you can," said Aiona. 'You never moved this — why did you not see the urgency in this issue?' Ige came back saying, 'It is obvious that those around the table don't know how the Legislature really works.' Ige then launched into a tedious lecture on the committee system and rules about conference committees and the votes needed to pass bills out of committee." (Richard Borreca, "The power of public unions is still a significant issue," Honolulu Star Advertiser, 9/30/14)
A Star Advertiser Editorial Last Monday Slammed Legislators, Including Senate Ways And Means Chairman David Ige. "Shamefully, legislators have known about this impending implosion for years, at least since late 2009, when a state-commissioned report outlined in dire detail the myriad, intractable problems with this broken public model. It estimated, for instance, that privatization of the workforce would save about $50 million annually." (Editorial, "Public hospitals need fixing ASAP," Honolulu Star Advertiser, 9/29/14)
  • "It behooves the next governor to take control of this unsustainable HHSC situation, and set the tone for long-term remedy; the issue rightly emerged during Thursday's gubernatorial forum on PBS." (Editorial, "Public hospitals need fixing ASAP," Honolulu Star Advertiser, 9/29/14)
As Chairman Of Ways And Means, Ige Purposefully Underfunded State Hospitals, Directly Resulting In This Fiscal Crisis. "The reason the HHSC doesn't have enough money is because the 2014 state Legislature stopped giving the hospitals emergency subsidies. Over the years the subsidies have increased and become such a regular part of the yearly budget process it is difficult to understand why the request is always included as an emergency. State Rep. Bert Kobayashi, a former administrator of the hospital system, says this year the Legislature purposely decided not to fund the HHSC's entire request." (Richard Borreca, "State's public hospitals in dire need of attention," Honolulu Star Advertiser, 8/29/14)
  • Ige Supported The Funding Measure That Governor Abercrombie Signed Into Law. (SB2866 SD1 HD1 CD1, capitol.hawaii.gov, Accessed 8/31/14)

The Problem Is So Dire, Other Democrat Leaders Are Calling For An Emergency Special Session. "House Speaker Joe Souki is asking the House Health and Finance committees to meet up with their Senate counterparts for an emergency public hearing to figure out what to do. 'We need a correction rapidly,' Souki said in an interview, adding that he would like to see the Legislature go into a special session on the hospital situation." (Richard Borreca, "State's public hospitals in dire need of attention," Honolulu Star Advertiser, 8/29/14)

NEIGHBOR ISLANDS PARTICULARLY AFFECTED

On Oahu: "On Oahu, a long-term care facility will be out of cash in May and unable to make payroll payments, said Derek Akiyoshi, CEO for the Oahu region of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. It is ending its adult day health care on Saturdays. 'Ultimately our core long-term care services will have to be eliminated,' Akiyoshi said." (Cathy Bussewitz, "Hawaii public hospitals dealing with $30M deficit," Associated Press, 9/20/14)

On Maui: "One hospital on Maui chose to close its adolescent psychology unit because it couldn’t sustain the appropriate staffing levels to provide the services. It’s also considering cuts to oncology and dialysis services if the situation doesn’t improve." (Cathy Bussewitz, "Hawaii public hospitals dealing with $30M deficit," Associated Press, 9/20/14)

On Kauai: "HHSC is in the process of eliminating more than 30 positions, mostly on Kauai, in the first round of cuts intended to offset the deficit this year. The facilities, which have minimal cash on hand and are continually behind in vendor payments, have 4,500 full- and part-time employees and said further reductions might occur later in the year." (Kristen Consillio, "Funding shortfall could close public isle hospitals, officials warn," Honolulu Star Advertiser, 9/20/14)

On Hawaii: "Public workers are losing their jobs, services are being cut back, and becoming seriously ill on Maui, Kauai or Hawaii for many means being sent to Oahu for care." (Richard Borreca, "The power of public unions is still a significant issue," Honolulu Star Advertiser, 9/30/14)

  *   *   *   *   *

KHON-AARP Debate: Ige Sharpens Attacks But Not Facts

News Release from Aiona Campaign October 8, 2014

In last night’s KHON-AARP Gubernatorial Debate, Duke Aiona shared his genuine concern for kupuna based on own experience with his 93-year-old mother, Frances, who passed away at the age of 93 in 2010. “Her care was left up to me and my sisters,” Duke reminisced. Her greatest need? “A security blanket,” Aiona recalled, where she would be taken care of with quality of life in her own home. A quality of care he wants to assure to all of Hawai‘i’s kupuna.

Meanwhile, Senator David Ige accused his opponents of “misinformation” while simultaneously revising facts on his own record. “There’s a lot of misinformation scattered around this evening,” Ige said, looking straight into camera. He was right:

Fact Check: Ige, “I doubled the Rental Housing Trust Fund to $33M”

David Ige claims he “increased” the RHTF, but in actuality he returned it to pre-recession levels. In 2014, Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, Chair of Human Services, introduced a bill (SB 2533) to increase the THTF by $100M. According to Civil Beat, “Sen. Ige, who leads the Senate’s budget committee, says there’s not a chance her bill will receive that level of funding….” (http://www.civilbeat.com/2014/02/21097-sen-chun-oakland-seeks-220m-for-affordable-housing-in-hawaii)

Meanwhile, Duke Aiona’s innovative plan would reallocate 25% of the Corporate Income Tax into the RHTF. This would result in an additional $128M infused into the RHTF from 2015 to 2020, creating an estimated 2170 new units (http://files.hawaii.gov/tax/useful/cor/2014gf05-29_attach_1.pdf).

Fact Check: Ige, “I rejected GET increases & will continue to do so”

Additionally, Ige introduced or voted to support at least 40 tax and fee increases over the past four years, including an increase in the state motor vehicle weight tax and vehicle registration, rental motor vehicle tax, and the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT). In fact, as recently as 2013 and 2014, Ige introduced a bill to repeal distribution of TAT to the counties, authorizing them to increase GET by 1%. This would force the counties to increase the GET to make up for the TAT revenue loss.

Aiona’s plan proposes to eliminate GET on food and medications, everyday costs for all Hawai‘i residents, especially hard-hitting for the fixed incomes of kupuna and the limited earnings of the working and middle class. 

Fact Check: Ige, “I cut Governor’s proposed budget by $1B”

Yes, Ige cut Abercrombie’s budget proposals, however, he was not cutting the budget, but actually cutting proposed increases in spending. The truth is Ige's proposed budgets increased the state general fund by $1.2B since 2011, when the Lingle administration left office.

From day one, the Aiona administration is ready to streamline inefficiencies by auditing large departments and cutting excess. “It’s a matter of priority!” Duke Aiona declared. Aiona drove home his point by speaking directly to a viewer who asked about coming home after college: “I want you to come home! I want you to work, live, and play in Hawai‘i!” Aiona laid out his plan to help reverse the brain drain and create a brain gain in a knowledge-based, 21st century world economy. 

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