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Hawaii lawmakers approve $1.5M for health exchange

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Hawaii lawmakers have approved $1.5 million in state funding to prop up its troubled health insurance exchange built under President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul.

The amount approved by House and Senate lawmakers Tuesday was well below the $4.7 million that Hawaii Health Connector officials asked for.

The exchange under the Affordable Care Act has been plagued with problems, including software issues that delayed open enrollment and low signups.

The exchange received more than $200 million in federal funds to open, yet signed up only about 8,000 in its first six months.

Lawmakers spent significant time debating potential fixes during the legislative session.

Sen. Sam Slom, a Republican who represents Waialae-Kahala, says the health exchange does not have a business plan that works. He says it has been nothing but a financial disaster.

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