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Aiona, Abercrombie spar over health issues

By The Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:31 p.m. HST, Sep 30, 2010

Republican James "Duke" Aiona and Democrat Neil Abercrombie are sparring over how national health care reform will impact the state's 36-year-old health law.

At a debate Thursday before Kaiser Permanente managers and in interviews afterward, Aiona said Congress may need to pass new exemptions so Hawaii's current law is not adversely impacted.

The incumbent lieutenant governor also says the national law is in limbo because its GOP opponents may control one or both houses of Congress next year.

But Abercrombie, a former congressman who worked on the national legislation before vacating his seat in February, says Aiona is exaggerating.

Abercrombie says the federal statute clearly allows the state's law to remain in force.

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