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House lawmakers introduce bills to fix health exchange

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 04:22 p.m. HST, Jan 23, 2014

House lawmakers have introduced a package of bills aimed at fixing the troubled Hawaii Health Connector.

The most sweeping change involves turning the nonprofit the Legislature created in 2011 into a state agency three months after it fumbled the start of the online insurance marketplace created by President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The Connector was supposed to launch Oct. 1, but did not go live until Oct. 15 due to software problems that have stifled enrollment.

Lawmakers have said that becoming a state agency could give the Connector access to greater resources, reduce information technology costs, improve security of private health information and make it more transparent.

The bills also remove insurance company representatives from the Connector's board of directors and aim to improve the system's reliability and ensure it has a long-term financial sustainability plan.

The Connector is funded with roughly $200 million in federal grants and is required to be self-sufficient by 2015.

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Solara wrote:
Details on the bills?
on January 23,2014 | 08:17AM
thepartyfirst wrote:
This nightmare is getting worst. How much money was spent and how much more will be wasted on this inept legislation?
on January 23,2014 | 08:32AM
eoe wrote:
You are right, we need to switch to single payer, universal insurance like every other successful post industrial democracy and stop end the wasteful private sector system that costs twice as much as anybody else's and delivers worse clinical outcomes.
on January 23,2014 | 08:55AM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
With Single Payer insurance the government pays all expenses. If the government pays all, the prices will escalate out of control. One example is motorized wheelchairs that are $2000.00. But somehow the companies bill medicare $3,500.00 to $6,000.00 each. This is not cost containment, many many medical devices and prescriptions become wildly expensive because "the government " pays for it.
on January 23,2014 | 09:07AM
localguy wrote:
You might have noticed those dysfunctional companies advertising "free" wheelchairs are no longer on the air. The very government you cried about for their high prices took them to court and shut them down for bilking medicare. Justice was served, cost containment was achieved. Might want to rethink your shibai post. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/02/22/172708345/fbi-raids-the-scooter-store-will-tsa-crack-down-on-wheelchair-miracles
on January 23,2014 | 10:18AM
AhiPoke wrote:
You're joking, right??? Everything the government touches turns to sh_t. I also question your comment, that every other successful post industrial democracy has universal insurance. Yes, while many countries have turned to universal coverage, the list also includes Greece, Spain, Portugal, Russia, etc. Hardly a list of economically successful countries.And, I would add that universal coverage is not what made any country successful. I believe success created the economic means to initially support these programs but eventually has led to the type of dependence that has ruined their economies. The US' programs of welfare, medicaid, foodstamps when combined with universal coverage is following the footsteps of these bankrupt countries.
on January 23,2014 | 09:21AM
bobstr wrote:
Single payer isn't the right way to go here, there's only ways to cut costs is to reduce service (single payer) or cut expenses, and the largest expense for doctors/hospitals is malpractice insurance. If the government would cap the payouts and get the lawyers out of the picture, our old system would work just fine.
on January 23,2014 | 09:29AM
South76 wrote:
Thank you for pointing out about the malpractice issue. Until there is reform or cap in frivolous law suits, many good doctors are going to turn new clients. They get penalized from insurance and from Medicaid/Medicare for doing more studies to find out what is wrong with the patient and the patient sues the doctor for not doing much to get to the bottom of their illness.
on January 23,2014 | 10:07AM
AhiPoke wrote:
"lawmakers have expressed worry that the exchange won't be able to support itself" - After spending $200M, they only now wonder about this??? I'm guessing that our legislature has little understanding of how this program works and virtually no understanding of the key requirements for it to be self-sufficient. As democrats, they were required to support it. I can't imagine any tweek they can make to save it short of massive new taxes.
on January 23,2014 | 08:35AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The Hawaii Health Connector is funded with about $200 million in federal grants and is required to be self-sufficient by 2015. But lawmakers have expressed worry that the exchange won't be able to support itself.

Yeah, $200 MILLION doesn't go very far these days. How much more money do these junior legislators want to pump into a project when there has been zero accountability for its failure and no explanation of exactly why it failed and why so many people were silent about creating a website that was so obviously destined to fail.

The start of a clean up is to figure out the who and why of the failure in the first place.

on January 23,2014 | 08:35AM
inlanikai wrote:
Suggestions for the Connector: 1) Require the insurers to provide a complete and updated list of what providers (hospitals, doctors, labs, pharmacies) are included in the network for each option they offer BEFORE the selection is made. 2) Require a complete pro forma contract to be posted BEFORE the selection is made. 3) Require the posting of the drug formulary for each plan option BEFORE the selection is made. I want to know everything before I click the enroll button. Transparency!
on January 23,2014 | 10:26AM
GWakai02 wrote:
Our representatives were not required to read the bill, just sign it and find out later. Should apply to you also, just click the enroll button and find out what's in it later. lol
on January 23,2014 | 03:01PM
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