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Legislature passes health exchange funding bill

    Joakim Peter, who heads the Compact of Free Association Community Action Network, signed up Monserat Louis, a Chuuk­ese immigrant, for Obama­care through the Hawaii Health Connector at one of several outreach events at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church.

The Legislature has approved a bill that would give more money to the state’s financially troubled health exchange.

Both chambers passed a bill Tuesday that would send the Hawaii Health Connector $2 million to use for operations.

Some lawmakers have been worried about a partial federal takeover of the exchange. That’s because all state-run exchanges operating as part of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act must be financially sustainable this year. But without a cash infusion the Hawaii exchange won’t be sustainable until 2022.

An earlier plan for the state to back $28 million in bonds or loans fizzled.

Rep. Angus McKelvey says the bill provides life support for the exchange.

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