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Monday, January 26, 2015
January 26, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:06 PM :: 3402 Views

HB92: Terminal Patients 'Right to Try' Legislation Introduced in Hawaii

Is $5 a Gallon Gas on Its Way? This Expert Thinks So

Lower Oil Prices Mean Kauai Electric Co-op Savings

ECT: According to the Energy Information Administration, the current U.S. wholesale price for diesel fuel of $1.77 a gallon has dropped $1.30 in a year. Average retail diesel prices have declined 86 cents a gallon to $3.03 during that same period.

Hawaii’s only electric cooperative expects to use 20 million gallons of fuel oil in 2015, said Jim Kelly, member services and communications manager for Kauai Island Utility Cooperative.

“Since August, our rate has dropped from 42 cents a kilowatt-hour to 34 cents in January, which amounts to a savings of about $40 a month for the average residential customer,” said Kelly. The Lihue-based co-op is committed to a goal of meeting 50 percent of its demand with renewable resources by 2023.

“We know that this decline in oil prices is temporary,” said Kelly. “ It’s also a reminder of the volatility of every fossil fuel, which is why we’re not slowing our pursuit of any option that could make us more energy self-sufficient.”

read ... Savings

Extending the GET for rail shouldn't even be an option

SA: We're about halfway through the "temporary" general excise tax surcharge that is funding the construction of Honolulu's heavy rail project.

Despite an agreement that the extra tax would expire at the end of 2022, we are now being told that the surcharge is needed to cover projected shortfalls, and it may even be extended to cover general operations of the rail.

read ... Natalie Iwasa

Ige State of the State Address Today

SA: ... Ige will give his first State of the State address in the House chambers at the state Capitol at 10 a.m. and is expected to call for "a change in mindset that will propel the state government to higher levels of efficiency, effectiveness and productivity," the governor's office said in a release Sunday.

Along that vein, Ige is expected to provide details about "increasing revenues and making systemic process improvements that will achieve significant cost savings," the release said. That's in line with the governor's previous statements that he is intending to modernize the state's tax collection system to make it more efficient and reduce abuse.

"He will also address the growth of our communities, health care, energy, education and other aspects of home-building four ourselves and our children"...

HNN: Streaming Video.

read ... State of the State

Hospitals Will Suffer because Health Connector Fails to Sign Up Micronesians

PBN: ..."When a migrant population can have access to care through insurance, that's a good thing," Yoshioka told PBN. "We see a lot of COFA migrants at Queen's, so we believe this is a positive step."

However, Yoshioka said hospitals are concerned that the state's 7,500 COFA migrants may not be able to sign up for insurance by the upcoming Feb. 15 deadline.

Hawaii will no longer provide Medicaid assistance to most COFA migrants starting March 1, due to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The Queen's Health Systems sees an average of about 5,300 visits from COFA patients a year.

"If they are uninsured after March 1, we're still going to see them, but it just means we won't get paid, so we're hoping that the Connector will extend their deadline," Yoshioka said.

read ... Another Failure

Star-Adv Admits Obamacare Driving Shortage of MDs

SA: Some trends, including making payment hinge more on health outcomes than the number of procedures performed, already were beginning within the private medical insurance industry, but the regulations of Obamacare accelerated them.

In addition, the federal law is pressing for better coordination of care among various providers, and for the conversion to electronic medical records that make this coordination possible.

These shifts are essential, if health costs are ever to be controlled, but documenting such factors under federal rules has added to the administrative burdens of medical practitioners.

The younger generation of doctors, native to information technologies and schooled in the new, team-focused approach to care, should adapt readily.

The question is, will Hawaii have enough of them willing to stay and practice in this state, especially in the more remote and rural island communities, where shortages are the worst?

The approach with the greatest potential for attracting and retaining doctors in Hawaii is to "grow" them right here. (Wrong.  This has been tried for years with only minimal impact.  The solution is to grandfather the grandfathers.  MDs over age 50 should be exempted from EHR regs.) 

read ... MD Shortage

McCain's Jones Act Reform Effort 'Dead for Now'

DP Jan 22, 2015: ...McCain had attached the provision as an amendment to an unrelated bill on the Keystone Pipeline. Amendments on Keystone came up for debate Thursday night, but McCain's was never considered, according to the office of Sen. Mark Warner, whose staffers followed the action.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cut off debate late in the evening and scheduled a final vote on Keystone for next week, according to media reports.

Thursday's action doesn't mean McCain's idea is dead. The powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee could attempt to revive the issue by other means....

read ... Jones Act Press

DoE Uses Laptops as Excuse to Scrounge for $30.8M More

SA: The department wants to expand its eight-school pilot program statewide and has made the initiative a top priority this legislative session. The DOE is seeking a $30.8 million investment over the next two years to create a pot of funding to help qualifying schools purchase devices.

If successful, the money could result in roughly 1 in 3 public school students having their own device to learn on.

But the project is expected to be a tough sell at the Legislature, where an initial $8 million for the small-scale pilot proved controversial, and subsequent funding requests for more devices have stalled the past two years.

Laptop Procurement: Fired chief procurement officer blows whistle on Hawaii DOE procurement troubles

2010: DoE spends $50M for free software

read ... Latest Excuse

Hoopili, DR Horton Pay Civil Beat to Write Article Promoting Mobile Home Parks

CB: Manufactured housing communities can help bring down our cost of living, but stereotypes, land costs, regulations and a lack of will have conspired to block them.

read ... An Article Sponsored by Hoopili

Kunia Farm Lots Await Historic Preservation Plans

SA: Since about 2010 the 854-acre development, called Kunia Loa Ridge Farmlands, has been transformed into a place where farmers can grow crops on up to 99 lots. Land has been cleared, dirt roads improved or added, reservoirs installed, and many structures have been built throughout the property.

Yet even as work continues, there still is no preservation or burial treatment plan — the two documents that detail how the significant historic sites will be preserved — in place.

The State Historic Preservation Division, which reviews and approves such plans, says it expects to get drafts from the landowner next month and that interim preservation buffers — basically, protection zones — have been identified for each of the historic properties. Some are blocked off by fencing.

The sites include remnants of rock walls and heiau.

read ... Kunia farm land developed without aid of historic safeguards

Hanabusa to Moderate UH Wymyns Studies Panel on the Joy of Abortion

ILind: Richards will be joined by Susan Trout, co-chair of Planned Parenthood Young Leaders (PPYL) of Hawaii, and Kathy Ferguson Professor of Political Science and Women’s Studies at the University of Hawai’i. Former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa will moderate the discussion.

The event is part of the University of Hawaii Manoa Women’s Studies Department’s 40th Anniversary Celebration. Click here for more information on the year-long series of 40th Anniversary events.

Richards will also make appearances at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser on Maui on the evening of January 30, and the organization’s “Champions of Choice Gala” at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Saturday evening, January 31.

read ... Planned Parenthood President to speak on UH Manoa Campus this week

Maui Republican caucus meetings Saturday

MN: * Upcountry - 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the Makawao Elementary School cafeteria.

* Central Maui - 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Wailuku Elementary School cafeteria.

* West Maui - 1:30 to 3 p.m. in the Lahaina Intermediate School cafeteria.

* South Maui - 4 to 5 p.m. at the Kalama Heights Retirement Community, 101 Kanani Road, Kihei.

read ... The Maui News

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