Healthcare Failure

In 2007 Sen. Barack Obama’s home state of Hawaii launched the US’ first Universal Child Healthcare Program. The Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) began enrolling eligible children for free health coverage under a Keiki Care program.

The program failed.

HONOLULU (AP) – Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care program in the country just seven months after it launched.

Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration cited budget shortfalls and other available health care options for eliminating funding for the program. A state official said families were dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan.

“People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free,” said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. “I don’t believe that was the intent of the program.”

State officials said Thursday they will stop giving health coverage to the 2,000 children enrolled by Nov. 1, but private partner Hawaii Medical Service Association will pay to extend their coverage through the end of the year without government support.

“We’re very disappointed in the state’s decision, and it came as a complete surprise to us,” said Jennifer Diesman, a spokeswoman for HMSA, the state’s largest health care provider. “We believe the program is working, and given Hawaii’s economic uncertainty, we don’t think now is the time to cut all funding for this kind of program.”

Hawaii lawmakers approved the health plan in 2007 as a way to ensure every child can get basic medical help. The Keiki (child) Care program aimed to cover every child from birth to 18 years old who didn’t already have health insurance – mostly immigrants and members of lower-income families.

It costs the state about $50,000 per month, or $25.50 per child – an amount that was more than matched by HMSA.

State health officials argued that most of the children enrolled in the universal child care program previously had private health insurance, indicating that it was helping those who didn’t need it.

The Republican governor signed Keiki Care into law in 2007, but it and many other government services are facing cuts as the state deals with a projected $900 million general fund shortfall by 2011.

While it’s difficult to determine how many children lack health coverage in the islands, estimates range from 3,500 to 16,000 in a state of about 1.3 million people. All were eligible for the program.

“Children are a lot more vulnerable in terms of needing care,” said Democratic Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland. “It’s not very good to try to be a leader and then renege on that commitment.”

The universal health care system was free except for copays of $7 per office visit.

Families with children currently enrolled in the universal system are being encouraged to seek more comprehensive Medicaid coverage, which may be available to children in a family of four earning up to $73,000 annually.

These children also could sign up for the HMSA Children’s Plan, which costs about $55 a month.

“Most of them won’t be eligible for Medicaid, and that’s why they were enrolled in Keiki Care,” Diesman said. “It’s the gap group that we’re trying to ensure has coverage.”

— MARK NIESSE
Associated Press Writer

This is something that the Left doesn’t seem to understand. Socialized healthcare or health insurance is very costly and will be abused by people if there’s anyway possible to do so.

One actually has to wonder how many businesses in Hawaii encouraged their employees to drop healthcare coverage for their children and to go onto the state’s free program. Such a course of action would certainly have reduced those employer’s health benefits costs.

Anyone care to speculate what would happen to a national free health or subsidized health insurance program?

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9 Responses to “Healthcare Failure”

  1. angela b Says:

    awesome story and commentary. i posted to teamsarah.org and gave you credit. hope that’t OK!

  2. jonolan Says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Angela. 🙂 Use the story and commentary in good health.

  3. The Health Insurance Problem Says:

    […] you don’t think this is how it will be, check out what happened in Hawaii: Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care program in the country just seven […]

  4. damien Says:

    I like your layout. Have your web guy hit me up.

  5. jim campbell Says:

    Great post, I was looking for a reference from an actual source in the media, seems like this is another story that didn’t quite make it to press. I’m using your source for my blog. Great blog, I’ll come back when I have time. Jim

  6. Maxwell Says:

    I believe this universal health care is dangerous. Right now you have choice and the right to sue if necessary in disputes with insurance; but with gov., who will fight for us? I see this whole monster mess as population control. I am Cherokee and see stagnation again by the people in power to create dependancy…they did this to the Indians to get all assests…now Americans are about to be taken over. Get everybody in the “boat” who gets thrown over?, the old and dying…baby boomers are going to be denied for the greater good; a mass way to cut costs. Pretend they are caring for you, generic drugs with worse side effects and take assests, you die sooner and the gov. wins. Obama already denied surviving aborded babies the right to a doctor/nurse…that is an insight to how cold he really is. Also, he did not value the life of the army recruit shot to death by a radical muslim here in the states, no statement of outrage, just silence…what will he deny our troops? Now he wants to play god with our health, decisions made by unelected officals, his czars, frightening.

  7. jonolan Says:

    Maxwell,

    I agree withe your assertion that this universal healthcare idea is dangerous. I cannot however agree with the motivation you ascribe to the Liberals who are endorsing it. Such motive is not a necessity for their actions in this regards; they could just want to give everyone healthcare, at the public’s – read wealthier people and businesses’ – expense.

    Yet, what you say will happen could very well, in fact, happen without it being the Liberals’ plan. Simple economics, bureaucratic malaise, and the shifting winds of politics make it likely that every evil you warn of will happen just due to stupidity and entropy.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  8. Obama Care: Let’s NOT Go There! « Albert's America Says:

    […] http://blog.jonolan.net/politics/healthcare-failure/ […]

  9. roger charlton Says:

    i think that the economy is more important than obama trying to do what hillery couldn’t do the eight years she ran the country. put people to work stop giving to the lazies that will never work,and giving to the countries that hate the U.S.A. we have more oil than all of the mideast stop the foolishness in washington d.c. wake up people!

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