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Wednesday, October 2, 2013
October 2, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:22 PM :: 4048 Views

Video: Sen Sam Slom and Jim Hochberg on Special Session

Mainland Anti-GMO money flooding into Molokai, funding “grassroots” protests

‘Environmental disaster:’ HI residents want answers over molasses spill

Feds Shutdown? Obamacare a Mess? Abercrombie Secretly Vacations in France

HCDA Releases 20 Pg Q&A

After 56,000 Insurance Policies Cancelled to Make Way for 'Reform', Hawaii exchange gets only 500 applications

AP: Budar says he expects actual plans and prices to be up within the month, once they're approved by insurers. (Excuse #1)

"We are going to focus on making October the month of learning," Budar said.

Budar said about 500 residents had filled out applications by midday.

Laura Lott, a spokeswoman for Kaiser Permanente in Hawaii, said the exchange is waiting for approval from insurers because the software on the exchange's system isn't loading correctly. (Excuse #1 and #2.  BTW--What part of 'Beta Testing' do these people not understand?)

"They are working on a fix on their side," Lott said. "They do have all our plans and all our rates." (She just contradicted Excuse #1.  Apparently the story about insurers not approving the rates is a lie.)

When asked why the delay is happening, Budar cited the insurers' approval and public feedback that consumers don't want to sign up for plans right away....  (Excuse #1 and #3)

Nearly 8 percent of Hawaii residents don't have health insurance, according to 2010 U.S. Census data. Hawaii's exchange, citing data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, says nearly 90,000 uninsured Hawaii residents will be eligible for coverage under the new marketplace....

read ... Only 500 Apply--that's less than 1% of 56,000

Hawaii Accountants Assn:  Over 55? Your Insurance Rates Will Triple Thanks to Abercrombie

Russell Yamashita: Listen to the Hawaii Association of Public Accountant’s seminar held yesterday on the topic as it relates to Hawaii taxpayers and businesses: HPR Radio

You will be surprised in some of the revelations that will be facing those who have to pay for your own insurance or have a small business.

1. The biggest disclosure is that to get any kind of tax credits you are mandated to get health insurance from the “connector”.

2. For individuals and small businesses “Age rating” was chosen by the Abercrombie administration for determining premiums and for those above the age of 55, you can look to double to triple the cost of your current cost of insurance in the years to come.

3. For unions with generous medical benefits, look to future taxes on you benefits if they are considered to be “Cadillac Plans” which are too generous. The ILWU recent wrote to the AFL-CIO berating their president for “throwing us under the bus” when supporting Obamacare and including the Cadillac tax.

There were other surprises, but people should listen to the four hours of the seminar and interviews by HPR. At least the public doesn’t have to pay for it!

then read ... Ian Lind desperately trying to defend this mess

"At some Point the Connector is Going to Have to Start Showing Rates"

KHON: “At some point the connector’s going to have to start showing rates. That’s been one of their selling points is the transparency. So they’re going to have to start showing those rates and doing some comparisons,” said Reg Baker, executive vice president at Hawaii Medical Assurance Association, an insurer not participating in the exchange at this point.

The Hawaii Health Connector says there’s plenty of time because the deadline isn’t until Dec. 15 for coverage starting Jan. 1.

“There isn’t any rush, there isn’t any panic. Everyone can just take a breath, ask your questions, learn, and see what the ACA is about,” Budar said.

The state Insurance Commissioner has already approved 95 plans — about 30 of them dental from a variety of providers. The rest are health plans, but only from two health providers so far, HMSA and Kaiser, which each can provide their information to consumers directly.

Others like HMAA and University Health Alliance are taking a wait-and-see approach, not participating in the exchange at the outset.

“If you’re employed and you work more than 20 hours, you’ve already got the insurance. You don’t need to do anything Oct. 1, it’s already there for you. As a matter of fact, it might be better if you don’t do anything because the health plans are going  be coming out and they’re gonna be very aggressive. They’re going to  be trying to compete with the connector in some sense and they’re going to be coming out with some pretty good deals,” Baker said.

read ... Transparency?

Hirono Still Taking Salary, All Delegates Refuse to Sign up for Obamacare, Abercrombie Staying in France

CB: Effective Tuesday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is returning her salary to the U.S. Treasury. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz are donating theirs to a Hawaii charity.

They are not alone.

On the first day of the shutdown, a number of other lawmakers around the nation are following suit, including Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican from Texas

read ... Better Check for their Receipts

Big Island Anti-GMO Bill Advances

CB: A bill that would ban biotech companies and the expansion of GMO crops on the Big Island has passed the Hawaii County Council’s Public Safety and Mass Transit committee.

Bill 113, introduced by Councilwoman Margaret Wille, passed with a vote of 6 to 2 on Tuesday and will now go to the full county council for review.

Hawaii County Council members Greggor Ilagan and J Yoshimoto opposed the bill.

KGI: Kauai Council Gearing up for the Legislature

read ... Luddites Winning?

DOE Long Overdue in Improving Hawaiian Studies, Kupuna Say

CB: State education officials have consistently failed to comply with a scathing 2008 audit that called for them to improve and clarify the Hawaii Department of Education Hawaiian studies program, several teachers in the program told school board members Tuesday.

The Hawaii constitution requires that public schools promote Hawaiian culture, history and language through a comprehensive education program that the Board of Education vaguely defines in its policy book.

But teachers on Tuesday said the 33-year-old program has fallen short of the constitutional mandate, pointing to one component — employing kupuna, or elders, and other experts on a part-time basis to teach Hawaiian studies at elementary schools — as particularly problematic.

read ... DOE Long Overdue in Improving Hawaiian Studies, Kupuna Say

DoE Wastes Money, Teachers' Time on 'Revolving Door' of Expensive New Programs

SA: We are told by teachers that much money is wasted because a revolving door exists, through which expensive new programs are presented and initiated, only to be replaced with additional expensive new programs. All of these take up precious faculty time and school resources.

These programs are rarely instituted for very long nor are they evaluated meaningfully. They enable the school to claim an enhanced future that, in fact, does not materialize.

New programs should be carefully adopted, with preliminary and ongoing faculty input, using common sense. Again, the ultimate responsibility for this resides with the administration.

» The U.S. is in a frenzy of adopting a huge number of subject-matter standards followed by subsequent testing to see they are met. For teachers, this makes each school day a race to comprehensively cover unreasonable amounts of new material. Day after day, they must persist, with almost no time for review or reflection, and an ever-present threat of a poor evaluation for the school — and the teacher.

read ... Here are some ways to improve our Public Schools

2 former Halawa guards accused of taking bribes, helping USO prison gang

HNN:  Former Halawa prison guard John Joseph Kalei Hall pleaded guilty a year ago after a federal indictment accused him of smuggling cigarettes into the prison and selling them to members of the USO Family gang, allowing them to control the flow of contraband at Halawa.

Federal prosecutors said Hall was paid between $10,000 and $30,000 in bribes by gang members there.

Authorities said Hall sold cigarettes to the USO Family gang for $500 a carton and then gang members re-sold the cigarettes to other inmates, making about $1,000 per carton.  

Prisons officials have estimated that contraband cigarettes are sold for anywhere from $200 to $500 a pack behind bars.

Cigarettes were banned from Hawaii prisons in 2010, a prisons spokeswoman said.  (Handy tip: Start allowing cigs again.)....

Another former Halawa guard, Feso Malufau, 54, was indicted along with five inmates for racketeering conspiracy and charged with multiple acts of fraud, bribery and distributing marijuana and crystal meth.

A previous federal indictment accused Malufau of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes for smuggling contraband into Halawa.

The feds are also going after Malufau and his wife for failing to disclose their bribery income and a property in Hauula on their bankruptcy filing at the end of 2011. So they now risk losing that bankruptcy protection. 

Prisons officials said they fired Malufau last September for another reason they will not disclose but they said it's not related to the USO prison gang operation.

read ... Just the Beginning

Oxy Elite Pro Supplement Linked to Liver Failure

HNN: "Seven to ten cases are easy to link in Hawaii," Dr. Park says.  "But in larger states, it may be harder."

Dr. Park would not give a specific brand name because she says there could be more than one supplement containing the ingredient in question.  She also did not reveal the ingredient, but, Hawaii News Now has learned that the ingredient is found in Oxy Elite Pro, a supplement commonly used by bodybuilders.  That company got a letter from Federal Drug Administration last year not because of a link to liver problems.   The letter was about the, then,  new ingredient it contained.

LINK: Oxy Elite Pro Lawsuit

read ... Supplements 



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