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Sunday, February 17, 2013
February 17, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:22 AM :: 5317 Views

Jerking the Hotel Industry Around, You Can’t Trust Lawmakers

Methadone, Soma: City, State, Josh Green to Split the Profits with Pill Mills under SB876

SA: … the bill the state received for the physician-dispensed diazepam (an addictive anti-anxiety pill) was $164.32 — more than 160 times greater than what the pharmacy price would have been.  The state paid Prescription Partners, the billing company, the $1.41. The company filed a challenge with the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, which oversees workers' compensation cases, contesting the lower payment.

Soma: $1116 vs $11

Methadone: $451 vs $24

The dispute is one of more than 2,000 pending before the agency, and the vast majority of those were filed within the past year and involve what employers and insurers say are excessive prices for so-called repackaged or compound medications.  (Which just so happen to be addictive and/or narcotic.  What a coincidence!)

Several measures advancing at the state Legislature would address this growing problem, one that potentially can cost taxpayers millions of dollars in higher workers' compensation expenses….

The city, for instance, was billed about $53,000 for repackaged drugs in 2005, the first year repackagers emerged in the Hawaii market. In 2012, the tab hit nearly $700,000….

Today, the 1,800-plus repackaging disputes have overwhelmed the department's staff, leading the agency this year to support a legislative measure, House Bill 1176, to streamline the resolution process.

Several other bills being considered by lawmakers would tackle the problem from another angle: establishing a price cap to rein in excessive charges. One measure, HB 891, is part of the Abercrombie administration's legislative package and is advancing in the House….

Although several repackagers currently operate in Hawaii, the vast majority of the disputes involve Prescription Partners, an affiliate of Florida-based Automated HealthCare Solutions and a major player in the local market, according to employers and insurers.

The city alone has more than 500 disputes pending, and all but a few involve Prescription Partners, according to Kadzielawa and a city spokesman. The contested tab: $826,000….

this year, Automated HealthCare is supporting a price cap, saying aspects of the bills before the Legislature are fair to all parties. Others who also opposed last year's bill are voicing general support for a cap. One version allows doctors to charge a dispensing fee, raising concerns among some insurers.

Sen. Josh Green, an emergency room physician who chairs the Senate Health Committee, believes a combination of capping prices and streamlining the dispute process is needed to protect consumers from what he agrees are pricing abuses in the repackaged drug market.

"I'll certainly do my part to get a resolution that is fair to both sides," said Green, who supported SB 876, a streamlining measure, that was referred to and approved by his committee.  (check out what Joshie did last year.  He does what his campaign contributor AHC tells him to do.)

Reality: 

Resources for Concerned Legislators, Councilmembers:

read … Drug Dealers Split Profits With City, State

PLDC Under New Name: Hawaii lawmakers push school land development

AP: Representatives from three House committees are moving forward a plan to let Hawaii raise revenue by developing unused public school lands.

House committees on land, education and finance approved the bill Friday, but the vote didn’t go smoothly.

“This is the PLDC,” said Rep. Gene Ward of East Honolulu, referring to the highly criticized Public Land Development Corp. “This is one of its children.”

The House voted unanimously to get rid of the state land agency Thursday in response to persistent, vocal opposition denouncing the organization as a pathway to unbridled development.

Ward and Rep. Cynthia Thielen, both Republicans, told fellow committee members Friday that the proposal to develop school lands was no different.

read … Son of PLDC?

HSTA Members Push for 25% Increase in GE Tax

SA: House Bill 1368, called the Penny for Education Act. This would raise the general excise tax by 1 cent per dollar and provide a source of money to really improve education in Hawaii.  I can already hear the complaints: You can't raise taxes….So…this is why we are protesting….

In order to improve working conditions, I've had to buy fans for my classroom out of my own pocket. This is a reality for most teachers who spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of their own money to provide students who come to school without supplies or even food…..

This is Reality:  Audit: Teachers Stealing Cash Fees Collected at Adult Schools

Hawaii Teacher Absenteeism 2nd-Worst in USA

read … Tax Hike

While Legal Immigrants Wait, Activists Move Illegals to Front of Line

SA: The truth, however, is that while (illegals) may be fewer in number, there are people in Hawaii lost in the wilderness of the nation's "broken" immigration system, each with a story….

"Husbands or wives of green card holders have to wait three years (for legal status)," he said. "Siblings of citizens from the Philippines have to wait 23 years. They could do things that would shorten waiting time for employment-based immigration and family-based immigration."

"People are always saying, ‘Well, get in the back of the line," Hirota added. "They don't realize, the back of the line, you mean 25 years? In the back of that line? The people that are doing it are waiting 25 years, and that's because they are doing things right, not because they screwed up.

"Family immigration, people think, ‘I have an uncle, or an auntie or a cousin,'" she added. "The current legal family immigration system, the most distant relative that can petition for you is a sibling.

"So you're talking about immediate family members that are waiting for decades to be together."

But there are a few things that Hawaii can do on its own, such as to create a local version of the DREAM Act. Amy Agbayani, a longtime champion of immigrant and minority rights, is director of the Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity Program at the University of Hawaii, where on Thursday the Board of Regents will consider such a proposal. If the initiative is approved, Agbayani said, Hawaii will join 12 states that allow the undocumented who came to America as minors to enroll and pay resident tuition (see story above).

In addition, there are a few legislative proposals that seek to improve the lot of immigrants and undocumented workers here. Senate Bill 58 and House Bill 266 are twin measures moving through their respective chambers that propose a statewide language access resource center.

And concerns about agricultural workers, especially on Maui, has given rise to HB 52, which takes aim at racial profiling  preventing the police from busting illegals.

"It's a big problem on Maui," said attorney Kevin Block, immigrant services coordinator for Maui County's Department of Housing and Human Concerns. "Police will ask victims and witnesses for their Social Security number, which has made them reluctant to call the police."

read … Every Leftist in Hawaii Salivates

UH Finds only SEVEN Illegals Among Student Body

SA: A query of the student database indicates that seven undocumented immigrants are now enrolled, Hokoana said in the memo. According to the tuition schedule, nonresidents pay almost three times the resident full-time tuition.

The policy would require students prove residence in Hawaii and attendance or graduation from a U.S. high school; they also must agree to initiate the process to become a U.S. citizen.

read … Illegals Must Initiate Process to Become Citizens

Shapiro: Politicos try to go green but keep losing track of it

» The state pension fund is in its worst shape in 30 years, with an $8.4 billion deficit that could take another 30 years to erase. Actuaries are assuming that by then, North Korea will have finished its nuclear missile that can reach Hawaii.

» An audit found that the $92 million food services program in our public schools has an "unacceptable" lack of oversight, monitoring and accountability. In other words, a typical Hawaii state government program.

» Developers and other special interests donated $365,550 for Mayor Kirk Caldwell's transition and inaugural luau but insisted it wasn't influence-buying. All they bought was kalua pig with a side of zoning consideration.

» City transit officials will question the Italian firm given a $1.4 billion contract to provide cars for Hono­lulu rail after the parent company's CEO was arrested for corruption. Unfortunately, due diligence isn't one of those things that's better late than never.

read … Green

ACLU Working to Ensure Honolulu Homeless Stay Homeless

AP: Daniel Gluck, a senior staff attorney with ACLU Hawaii, said when city officials asked the group to review the bill last October, ACLU Hawaii determined it was unconstitutional.

“We intend to oppose it vigorously,” Gluck said in a statement. “If it is implemented, the ACLU will be forced to bring a lawsuit in federal court.”

While city officials would not have to give advance notice of the removal of an item from a city sidewalk, the bill calls for a written notice of the removal to be posted for three consecutive days after the removal.

If the notice cannot be posted where the item was removed, “it shall be posted on the Internet website for three consecutive days following removal of the sidewalk-nuisance,” the bill states.

An object defined and seized as a “sidewalk-nuisance” would be stored by the city for 30 days, during which time its owner can make a claim for it. If successful, the owner would have to pay a $200 fee “for the city’s cost of removal, storage and handling.”….

Alaska’s largest city in recent years has faced a similar problem of numerous homeless camps tucked away in Anchorage’s parks and out-of-the way places. Mayor Dan Sullivan moved to rid the city of the camps, saying they attracted crime and prevented citizens from having full use of the parks.

The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance several years ago that the ACLU of Alaska contested in state court as unconstitutional and won. A Superior Court judge in 2011 found that the ordinance was illegal because it provided too little notice of a raid, especially if property was to be seized.

The revised ordinance required that more notice be given and belongings that were seized had to be stored at least for 15 days. The city since then has moved to dismantle the illegal camps.

read … Camps

Clarify rules on activities at Oahu's beach parks

SA: Most weekend commercial activity was banned last year at two of Kailua's most popular beach parks, but the City Council went ahead later with a stronger measure that effectively banned all commercial activity at all city parks and beaches on Oahu. This unintended consequence is now threatening the cancellation of some popular fundraising events, and the Council must act quickly for an exemption to undo this mistake….

As a result, this year's nonprofit Pineapple Festival, held in Wahiawa in May, as well as the Haleiwa Arts Festival, will be cancelled unless a change is made. A city parks official told the Star-Advertiser's Gordon Y.K. Pang that the Honolulu Marathon, the Lantern Floating Hawaii and various ethnic festivals also may have to be scratched.

Other activities have been threatened by the broad ordinance, including rentals of inflatable bouncing play equipment popular at children's beach parties and commercial food trucks that are relied upon along the North Shore….

read … Ooops

Poll: 20% of Oahu Residents are Feeding Strange Cats

SA: The Ward Research findings also concluded that nearly 20 percent of Oahu residents are feeding cats they don't consider their own, and 70 percent of these people don't know if the cats are sterilized.

read … A sign of the apocalypse or something

A List of Places to Name After Inouye

Borreca: HB1031: "Hawaii federal spending abatement task force to study changes in federal appropriations and their economic impacts in the state"

read … A list of places to name After Inouye

Mainland Gays, Star-Adv  Use Jim Nabors to Legitimatize Gay ‘Marriage’

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