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LWV-Hawaii Legislative Testimony

HB 2670 HD1

Relating to
Health (towards a Comprehensive Health Plan)

House Committee on Finance (FIN) - chair: Takamine, vice chair: Kawakami

Friday, February 24, 2006, 5:00 p.m. Conference Room 308

Testifier: Jean Aoki

Click here to view HB2670 HD1

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii supports HB 2670 which would set up a health authority which would develop a comprehensive heath plan for the State of Hawaii.

There is no question that Hawaii, like the rest of the nation, is facing increasingly difficult problems in providing affordable health care for its citizens. An Associated Press article just two days ago reported that “within a decade, an aging America will spend one of every five dollars on healthcare, according to government analysts”. Analysts predict that by 2015, the nation’s healthcare bill will be more than $4 trillion with government paying half of the cost and consumers the other half. In 2005, healthcare costs totaled about $2 trillion. From access to health care to the escalating costs of that care, the problems will increase in severity with an aging population and growing population, Without proper planning, workers who are suffering stagnant wages while the cost of living rises will be cut off from necessary health care.

A comprehensive plan that will provide for access to health care for all would necessarily also have to address the problem that was highlighted in the Advertiser a few weeks ago about the lack of enough orthopedic surgeons in Hawaii County and the need to fly the patient to Honolulu for care. A good plan would be one that would ensure a plentiful supply of health care providers.

Through the years, the legislature has had to pass laws to fix one problem or the other in health care. We believe that with health care looming as a monumental problem for the whole nation, a comprehensive plan is needed so that we have a seamless system in place which provides access to basic health care for all and which works to contain health care costs by eliminating waste and duplication among other things.

For the Finance Committee, the challenge will be to have a long-range plan that will work to keep healthcare costs down while making the care accessible to all because of the effect these costs will have on other legitimate demands on Hawaii’s financial resources. The sooner we work on a comprehensive plan to meet the objectives of making healthcare accessible to all, and of keeping costs from escalating beyond the inflation rate, the sooner you will have better control of the state’s finances.

I was so pleased to see the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce declaring that “We believe access to affordable healthcare is a right --- not a privilege, ” a belief that is shared by the members of the League of Women Voters nation-wide.

We urge the passage of HB 2670 HD1,

Thank you for this opportunity to testify in support of HB 2670 HD 1.


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