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Monday, October 20, 2014
Ige's HHSC Mess Gets Worse
By News Release @ 5:59 PM :: 3448 Views :: Health Care

Ige's State Hospital Mess Continues To Get Worse

Senator Ige Offers No New Solutions To Fiscal Crisis He Helped Create

News Release from Hawaii Republican Party October 20, 2014

HONOLULU (October 20, 2014) -- The state hospital crisis that Senator Ige created this year after underfunding the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. continues to get worse, with the news this weekend that the fiscal picture is even bleaker than before. Meanwhile, Senator Ige can only make excuses for his record of failure that particularly hurts the neighbor islands already facing worrisome healthcare shortages.

"Senator Ige continues to demonstrate that he has no new solutions to the problems he helped create over the past four years. Patients across the state looking at a growing doctor shortage and less access to care simply can't afford four more years of Senator Ige's same failed policies." -- Hawaii Republican Party Communications Advisor Ted Kwong

BACKGROUND:

Further Financial Burdens On The HHSC System Were Reported Over The Weekend."Already on unstable financial footing, Hawaii's public hospitals recently learned they must add millions to their contribution for retired workers' health benefits. The Hawaii Health Systems Corp.'s network of 12 hospitals must come up with another $69.2 million to fund retiree health insurance costs in fiscal 2016 and 2017. That brings HHSC's projected deficit to $197.4 million after state appropriations in those two years. In addition to the newly discovered retiree costs, HHSC was already expecting a budget shortfall of $128.2 million in the two years due in part to the state Legislature not appropriating enough to the hospitals to cover expenses, which exceed income." (Kristen Consillio, "Hospitals face crippling deficit," Honolulu Star Advertiser, 10/19/14)

The Fiscal Crisis Is So Bad Closing Half The HHSC Hospitals Wouldn't Fix It. "'To understand the gravity of this, you could probably close half of the HHSC hospitals and you would not erase the deficit,' Edward Chu, HHSC's chief financial officer, said in a statement. 'To focus on cutting our way to solvency will not only require cuts of unrealistic magnitude, but also hurt the people we are charged to serve, and position us for closure within the next few years.'"(Kristen Consillio, "Hospitals face crippling deficit," Honolulu Star Advertiser, 10/19/14)

The Changes Are Triggered By A New Requirement From The Legislature. "But for the first time next year, HHSC and other state entities will be required by law to set aside money for retiree health benefits, adding another burden that could put in doubt the future of some of the struggling rural hospitals. The Legislature passed a law in 2013 requiring state and county governments to pay 20 percent of the annual amount needed to fund health benefits for current and retired workers and their families." (Kristen Consillio, "Hospitals face crippling deficit," Honolulu Star Advertiser, 10/19/14)
A Star Advertiser Column Previously Criticized Ige For His Lack Of A Solution On This Issue. "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 Also Slammed Chairman Ige And His Fellow Legislators For Their Failure. "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)

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