GOVERNOR LINGLE STATEMENT ON HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL
HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle issued the following statement following passage of health care legislation tonight by the United States Congress:
“The health care legislation approved by the House tonight will force Hawai‘i and all the other states into a one-size-fits-all program that is financially unsustainable.
“The $1.2 trillion government takeover of health care will cost Hawai‘i residents, conservatively, an estimated $300 million over five years in added costs to our Medicaid programs, which are already hemorrhaging red ink. This legislation will impose new taxes totaling $569.2 billion that will burden Americans for generations to come. It will also raise premiums, necessitate the rationing of health care, impede economic growth and job creation as well as require cuts to Medicare.
“Governors across the country have consistently stated that states need the flexibility to adjust their Medicaid programs so they can deliver quality health care to patients at a reasonable and sustainable price.
“Hawai‘i has already undertaken health care reforms. Specifically, our QUEST Medicaid program, which the federal government estimates has saved nearly $700 million by instituting cost-efficiency measures, provides quality health care to low-income men, women and children.
“Hawai‘i needs the freedom to continue these reforms. We don’t need restrictions in the form of unfunded federal mandates.
“This bill was passed in spite of the majority opinion of the American people. It was passed by making backroom deals with Congressional leaders that will ultimately cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars. While politics encompasses the art of compromise, this bill secured the ‘yea’ votes behind closed doors, without regard to the long-term economic impact and the overwhelming opposition by many citizens from Hawai‘i and across the nation to many of its provisions.
“It will be some time before the American public sees exactly what is in this bill that contains more than 2,000 pages. Even the House Speaker admitted last week, ‘we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.’ This legislation does not represent responsible government, nor does it serve the best interest of the American people or the people of Hawai‘i.”