Medicare rates should reflect Hawaii’s costs
The Hawaii Medical Association wishes to express its gratitude to Hawaii’s four members of Congress — U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, and U.S. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Ed Case — for advocating in support of Medicare increasing the geographic adjustment on payments made to physicians and associated health care providers to accommodate the state’s high cost of living and doing business.
The HMA believes the current Medicare rates do not adequately reflect Hawaii’s costs and are a major cause of the ongoing physician shortage in the state and a major obstacle to convincing medical students trained in Hawaii to stay in Hawaii.
Improved rates also would help put Hawaii in a competitive position to bring new physicians into the state, improving overall access to medical care. Additionally, the HMA estimates that a fair Medicare rate would add $200 million of federal money into the state’s economy each year. Everyone benefits.
Christopher D. Flanders
Executive director, Hawaii Medical Association
Live with homeless; don’t bulldoze them
How would you like to be given one minute to leave your home before it was going to be bulldozed away? How would you feel to see your shelter and your possessions in a heap?
Homes are our comfort, our health, our sanity, the very essence of “normalcy.” The downtown Hilo shelter destroyed a few days ago was an act of disrespect toward people with feelings.
Just because the unhoused were different, just because they may have minimal financial buoyancy, and just because it may have been a health and safety issue, the city demolished their home. Downtown Hilo has nearly no public spaces to sit, relax, have a snack and/or simply talk story because the Downtown Improvement Association and the city government are fearful of the homeless occupying that space.
Homeless people, like body odor, flies, mosquitoes and xenophobic people, will always be with us. We had better learn to live comfortably with them. Cultivating patience, tolerance and learning about ourselves is what I am talking about.
Sue oil companies, but allow killing of bats?
Let me get this straight: Our Hawaii politicians want to sue big oil for environmental damage (“Honolulu officials seek climate change lawsuit against oil companies,” Star-Advertiser, Nov. 6).
At the same time, they arrest their own citizens for protecting endangered Hawaiian endemic species from extinction, such as the hoary bat, which can be killed from the change of air pressure when passing through a wind turbine (“Silent protest over Kahuku wind farm made to state commission,” Star-Advertiser, Nov. 23).
Lawsuits won’t lessen our dependence on oil
Those writing letters to the editor promoting suing fossil fuel companies have not really thought out the possible consequences of that action.
If a company is sued, it would have several recourses, including halting shipments of all fuel to Hawaii, or simply increasing the cost to each citizen to make up for the losses. Does anyone really think that Hawaii can survive even one month without fossil fuels to generate our electricity, pump our water, charge our phones or computers, light our homes or stores, refrigerate our food, drive our cars, or even leave the island, as jets need to refuel? How would the outer islands even get supplies?
In Hawaii, when faced with a problem, the first thing that comes to mind is to sue someone or protest. This idea is simply short-sighted and naive.
Gary R. Johnson
Headline misrepresents facts about gun use
Once again you’ve printed a sensational headline while misrepresenting the facts (“In Hawaii a person is killed with a gun every 8 days,” Star-Advertiser, Nov. 25).
Please report the facts as they should be reported. Hawaii has a very high rate of suicides; that should be the headline. In 2017, there were 15.2 suicides per 100,000 people. What was the total per 100,000 for guns? 3.38.
Why are we so worried about deaths by firearms? People will kill themselves however they want. Yes, guns make it easier. And yes, people who know nothing about guns generally are afraid of them, and the media love to provoke this feeling.
If all the gun owners in Hawaii (and everywhere) were out to hurt people, like you imply, there’d be a lot of injured people, but there aren’t.
Most people do not want to harm one another. So please quit trying to make guns and gun owners out to be mass killers.
It takes a person, with a brain, to make a gun do anything.
Donors, not public, call shots on playground
On Nov. 7, the mayor released his statement regarding changing the location of his world-class playground to a location other than Ala Moana Park: “I’m open to compromise on other ideas as to where the playground can be located, but it has to make sense to the people funding it” (“Caldwell reaffirms support for Ala Moana playground,” Star-Advertiser, Nov. 8).
So not the voters, not the City Council, not the mayor, but Pa‘ani Kakou, four high-value contributors to the mayor’s political campaign, will determine the location for the mayor’s world-class playground.
The best government money can buy.