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Winter 2005

President's Message (Sue Irvine)
Maui Will Get Out the Vote (Joshua Cooper & Tamara Horcajo)
Healthcare Task Force Members
Kauai Studies Transportation (Carol Bain)
Informal Discussions Resume
Honolulu League Takes Up Housing (Jackie Parnell)
Task Force Plans Healthcare for All (Jean Aoki)
Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling (HCALG) (Grace Furukawa)
New Board of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii
Secrecy Is on the Rise (Carol Bain)
Sex Offender Web Site (Jaurene Judy)
Still Working for Clean Elections (Grace Furukawa)
Revised Position on Initiative and Referendum
From Grumble to Rumble: The Silver Legislature

Task Force Plans Healthcare for All

The Healthcare Task Force was established by the State Legislature last session to create a plan to improve health care for all of the people of Hawaii and to report to the 2006 Legislature on its findings and recommendations including suggested legislation. Representative Josh Green, (Dist. 6, Kailua, Keauhou) was elected to chair the Task Force at its first meeting on August 24, 2005. Dr. Green served as assistant majority whip and vice chair of the House Health Committee in the 2005 legislative session. Dr. Patricia Blanchette was elected Vice Chair of the task force.

Governor Lingle appointed the thirteen task force members from lists of recommendations submitted by the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, and the insurance commissioner. The majority of members must have experience in health care and the healthcare industry, a minimum of five members must be from the private sector, and three must be active participants in the Hawaii Uninsured Project. At least one member must be a public union representative, and at least one must be a neighbor island resident.

At this organizational meeting, committees were set up to look for expert consultants in each of four specific areas:

  1. Access (to healthcare services) Committee headed by Dr. Blanchette,
  2. Availability of Healthcare Coverage, chaired by Dr. Susan Forbe
  3. Financing and Efficiencies Committee, with Gary Allen looking into the business model and Dr. Calvin Wong looking into electronic health records technology, and
  4. Single-Payer Committee headed by John Radcliffe and Dr. Green.

I was not able to monitor this first meeting, but there were some hopeful reports from those who did attend. After the organizational matters were completed, there was discussion involving the counsel from the Attorney General's Office about the Sunshine Law, including each individual member's obligation to observe the spirit of the law. There was, I understand, quite a spirited discussion about some of the problems we face today in health care.

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) presented the Task Force members with books about single-payer and the healthcare crisis: Healthcare Meltdown, by Dr. R. LeBow, and-Critical Condition, by Barlett and Steele. Employees TODAY Media gave the members a video of the Canadian Health System and a June 2005 interview with Dr. Jim McDermott, Congressman from Washington State, and national president of Americans for Democratic Action. They also distributed articles on the universal single-payer health system. (I do have the books listed and the video on the Canadian system and would happily lend them to anyone.)

Jean Aoki

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