Friday, July 13, 2007

Universal Health Care for Hawaii?

Photo: Rep. Della Belatti, Leslie Gise M.D., U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Rep. John Mizuno, Rep. Karen Awana

By Rep. John Mizuno

That was the subject discussed on July 7th, as the panel weighed in on a proposed national healthcare system as well as Hawaii's consideration of Universal Health Care.

Congressman Abercrombie supports his colleagues US Reps John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich, authors of HR676 - The United States National Health Insurance Act. The bill creates a publicly financed health care system that ensures that all Americans have access to the highest quality and most cost effective health care service regardless of their income or health status. Dr. Gise confirmed that this would provide health care for everyone in our state, especially those in rural areas, including mental health care.

During the 2007 session, I introduced HB56 which provides health care for all Hawaii residents through a single payer system. The bill did not pass this session but remains alive in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Should both national and state measures pass in 2008, the state measure would yield to the national system. However, the state system could be implemented in 2 to 3 years, while the federal system would probably take 4 to 5 years.

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