Come January 1st, an estimated 1500 - 1800 Hawaii children may be without healthcare due to the State administration's surprise move to discontinue funding for the Keiki Care program. Keiki Care is basically universal health care for children who do not qualify for any other government assistance program. The State and the Hawaii Medical Service Association share the cost of the premiums; the program was established by the legislature and is considered groundbreaking. Had HMSA not stepped up to the plate to fund the entire program until the end of the year, the end of Keiki Care could have been this Friday. As time is of the essence, Health Chair, Rep. Josh Green, threw together a meeting yesterday to discuss options.
The Honolulu Advertiser's editorial staff covered the meeting, and the future of Keiki Care was the subject of this morning's editorial. KHON and AP were also there.
Chair Green, who will not be in the House after the November election, but who may be elected to the State Senate, would like to find another organization, public or private, to partner with HMSA. He plans to call a follow up meeting at the end of November to see where things stand.