Monday, January 22, 2007


Hawaii should have a governor like Illinois has

It's great when government works for the benefit of the people. Nationally, Bush has skewered seniors with his Medicare Part D drug plan which benefits insurance companies. The government is forbidden to bargain for lower prices, and the insurance companies have been caught jacking up rates.

But in steps Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, who is expanding the successful I-SaveRx plan to include more citizens of his state. Five states participate in this program already. Here's part of a news release from Illinois:
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that the State of Illinois will expand its innovative I-SaveRx drug importation program to state employees and dependents. Currently, the program is available and intended for senior citizens and the uninsured, and covers the citizens of Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Missouri and Vermont.

The program’s expansion will allow the State to reduce its annual prescription drug costs and reduce, and sometimes even eliminate, co-payments for state employees and dependents (currently, co-payments on brand name prescription drugs for those in the state’s health insurance range from $20-80). The expanded program for employees will be voluntary. Illinois was the first state in the nation to make safe, affordable prescription drugs from other countries available to its citizens.
Yup, you read that correctly--the program imports drugs from overseas.

The USA pays the highest prices for prescription drugs of any industrialized country. Since the federal government is run by folks who are paid off by drug manufacturers (and it doesn't matter much whether the pols are Republicans or Democrats), it falls to the states to do something for their citizens.

In Hawaii, Rep. Roy Takumi (along with Reps. Green and Thielen) have introduced a bill that would enable Hawaii to participate in this program:



Report Title: Prescription Drugs; I-SaveRx; Governor; Reimportation

Description: Directs governor to establish the State of Hawaii's participation in the I-SaveRx prescription drug program to provide residents with increased access to affordable drugs.


Now, I hope they don't leave it up to Governor Lingle to implement the law. Remember that the Lingle administration still refuses to negotiate with drug companies as the Legislature required when it created the Rx Plus program. I'm not sure how that can be fixed--you can put people in a room together but they won't negotiate if they really don't want to.

So I hope the bill grows some teeth as it progresses from committee to committee.

If you'd like the opportunity to buy prescription drugs from overseas, you might want to testify in favor of this bill. You can follow its progress by tracking it at When it comes up for a hearing, send in your testimony. Go over to the Capitol if you can and testify in person.

With your help, this and other worthy bills can become law.


Post a Comment

Requiring those Captcha codes at least temporarily, in the hopes that it quells the flood of comment spam I've been receiving.

<< Home


page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Newer›  ‹Older