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Hawaii could be first to start long-term care elderly benefit

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Catherine Graham, Gale Williams Hair and Christine Young attended a news conference at the State Capitol announcing legislation to provide a long-term care benefit for seniors today.

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / 2011

    Sen. Rosalyn Baker sits in her office at the State Capitol.

Lawmakers are introducing a bill that could make the state the first in the nation to offer long-term care benefits to seniors.

Democratic Sen. Rosalyn Baker said during a legislative hearing today that the bill would provide eligible seniors with a benefit of $70 per day for a year.

The seniors could use the benefit to pay family caregivers, hire in-home aides and help offset the cost of safety equipment, like walkers and ramps.

The bill would ask for a 0.5 percent increase in Hawaii’s general excise tax to cover the costs. The tax is about 4 percent and it’s added to most business transactions in the state.

University of Hawaii political professor Lawrence Nitz says about 25 percent of the tax revenue comes from visitors.

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  • 70 bucks a day in a nursing home? More like 300 dollars a day for a foster home. Imagine with it cost at a real hospital’s geriatric’s section? Take a guess? At least 500 dollars a day.

  • Just more of take from some and give to others. How about we take care of our family and save now for when we get old, and you do the same but enough of this money grab from hard working current workers.

    • Okay. Will you, then, stop using our highways, postal services, health departments, police officers, etc.? That’s only fair, wouldn’t you say? By your way of thinking, those resources, which we’ve all helped pay for, shouldn’t be shared with you.

      • Copperwire9 = Lame!! Hawaii is turning into a welfare state. Why don’t we just give the state government our paychecks and they dole out what we need for the rest of your lives. Only they know what best for us, we can’t even manage our own retirement for ourselves so the government should just do it for us…Ridiculous!!

  • Need to know more details as to who will qualify.. We have enough homeless transiting to Hawaii because of our liberal requirements for receiving benefits. Are we going to add more elderly folks from the mainland and foreign countries because of this? Strict entitlement requirements must be in place to help our own local seniors.

  • We have a lot of retired people moving to Hawaii already, and this bill will accelerate it. Just make your money elsewhere, move to Hawaii and get another $2,100 a month in LTC benefit.

    We should support a lot more programs with the GE Tax while we are at it:

    0.5% for LTC insurance

    0.25% for UH system facilities maintenance and repair backlog

    0.25%Department of Education facility backlog

    0.5%State of Hawaii facility backlog

    0.5%State highways repair backlog

    Then Honolulu County can add:

    0.5% City roads repair backlog

    0.5%0.25%Homeless housing program.

    • Re: 0.25%Department of Education facility backlog

      Not in favor of this. One way to improve education is to shut down the Department/School of Education.
      Have teachers actually learn something by getting a degree in History, Math, etc.

      Education degrees often have a reputation of being intellectually vacuous.
      One of the steps taken in transforming the University of California to a great university was to get rid of the education degrees.
      Sadly they are creeping back in – pressure from the left wing who use it as a political vehicle.

      I recall the old saying : those who can do, those who can’t teach, those who can’t teach teach teachers
      I do do not believe all of this but there is sometimes an element of truth to it

    • Good intentions but Hawaii is already an OVERTAXED STATE. Too much taxes, not business friendly. And when you are not business friendly you chase away good businesses which ultimately hurts the State’s economy and reduces our ability to find good jobs and also reduces the State’s overall revenue.

  • another entitlement? sounds great but there is no way we will be able to afford this. if the city and state is willing to stop paying for rail, i could actually think about supporting this new entitlement. but that is not going to happen. and if it is limited to locals or seniors that have lived here for a certain amount of years, garans newcomers will sue to get the benefits. too many unknowns with this.

  • I suppose the idea is to have the government do everything for us so we don’t have to do anything. When the numbers don’t add up, the politicians will be blaming someone else and raising taxes higher. Old people will claim they are “owed” the money but its not enough, and of course it isn’t. If Baker tried to pass a realistic number, people would choke. This is typical socialistic Democrat give away money pandering. Keep weakening the people until they can stand up without the politicians to help them and feed them. We’ve been waging a war on poverty and sure enough, more people are poor. Baker wants to wage a war on aging?

  • $70 would not even begin to help. I am a senior so I find this interesting but we don’t need to add to the excise tax after the rail already did that.

      • Another stupid idea by the Democrats. Medicaid costs are already sky high and now they want to tax the citizens of Hawaii to add a benefit coverage which amounts to over $25,000 per qualified senior.

  • The road to hell is paved with good intentions. just another tax increase and setting up a “special fund” for the tax collected. As if we already did not have “special funds”
    galore already. So many that the Legislature has little control over them and does not even know how much money is socked away in these “special funds”.
    And what is to stop our illustrious politicians from “raiding” the special fund when it becomes convenient for them.
    This is a very bad idea. Using a tax to support something like this. if this is so important, then fund it as an appropriation on a yearly basis after the need have been
    vetted by hearings and public imput. I say no more slush funds.
    No surprising that Senator Baker is behind this. Favorite tactic of the political elite is to use the kids and old folks for push their progressive, socialist agendas.

  • On paper, this is a great concept. Long term care (LTC) is definitely a good thing to have. I would recommend every working person to try to obtain a LTC insurance policy (before they get too old and the premiums get too expensive). Whereas LTC is a good thing to have, can we really trust the State to handle it properly for our Kapuna? The State and City & County always underestimates costs and/or mishandles tax revenues (our most recent prime example is the escalating Rail project; I was initially in favor of this project but with the escalating costs now I have serious doubts). Additionally, we are already an OVERTAXED State that is considered “Not business friendly.” Continuing to increase taxes will further discourage good businesses from setting up shop in Hawaii, which further reduces good jobs available and also reduces tax revenue that would have been generating by these businesses and the working people that would have been employed. Also, we have to be careful on how this is rolled out. Are we going to provide it to just any Senior who becomes a resident in Hawaii, even new ones that haven’t been paying taxes in our State during their careers? Too much taxes to pay for social project is NOT a good thing.

  • Time for our politicians to get their priorities straight. Time to end the rail at Middle Street or end it completely as we cannot afford to subsidize it, and extend the .05% excise tax for ling term care. Time to get rid of the money pit that helps the union and politicians and help ALL the people.

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