Monday, June 27, 2011
Party time at HMSA? Abercrombie guts Hawaii’s health protection laws
by Larry Geller
A Democratic governor will have achieved what even the Republicans didn’t dare to do—remove Hawaii’s special health care protections. The result, aside from costing citizens of the state pain, suffering and even death, will bring profit to the health insurance companies.
Of course, the Legislature passed SB1274, the bill that removes a patient’s right to appeal insurance company denials to the Insurance Commission. Their motivation for doing that should be examined. But the Governor could have vetoed it. Also, as the Star-Advertiser breaking news reports, he does plan to veto a bill that was intended to protect our health care:
Gov. Neil Abercrombie notified state House and Senate leaders on Monday that he may veto 23 bills, including a bill intended to protect the state's landmark Prepaid Health Care Act.
Among the potential vetoes is a bill that removes provisions of the Prepaid Health Care Act that sunset the act in the event of a national health care plan
[Star-Advertiser, Abercrombie may veto 23 bills, 6/27/2011]
As I understand it, there is only one governor’s message of intent to veto bills. When that list was posted, I read it a couple of times looking for SB1247. It wasn’t there. That means that the bill will become law.
Yes, it will be party time at HMSA, Evercare and the other insurance companies. But sad for those of us who may become ill and are denied treatment or medication. And that will include legislators and their families along with other public workers.
Update: Although not posted yet on the Capitol website, it appears that Gov. Abercrombie has signed SB1274 into law today.
I am no Abercrombie fan but I am not so sure that HB1134 really would have protected Prepaid. There is a lot of confusion over whether the changes in HB1134 would have triggered old ERISA rules and therefore automatically gut Prepaid.
After I posted my article I heard similar. It's very possible that I misinterpreted the effect of the bill (HB1134). I noticed some other bills that I thought were worthy will be vetoed. So I've decided to take the night to cool off and get back to this tomorrow. Instant reactions are not necessarily the best.
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