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3 gubernatorial candidates agree health exchange was mistake

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Three candidates competing to represent Hawaii as governor agreed that Hawaii made mistakes in the way it built its troubled health exchange.

Democratic state Sen. David Ige said Hawaii should continue to seek an exemption from the federal government to get out of some of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, but it can’t just wait until 2017, which is when the state has been told exemptions would be available.

Republican candidate James “Duke” Aiona said the state saw no return on its investment in the Hawaii Health Connector, so it should be eliminated. Hawaii Independent Party candidate Mufi Hannemann said the state should cut its losses and get out of the exchange.

“We should have never implemented the Hawaii Health Connector,” Hannemann said.

The gubernatorial candidates want to boost tourism by opening another international airport terminal.

Aiona wants the Legislature to stop raising taxes on tourists and to create a tourism liaison in the governor’s office.

“Tourists vote also,” Aiona said. “They vote with their feet. And before you know it, they will not be coming to Hawaii.”

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