REPUBLICANS VOTE TO PROTECT HEALTH CARE FOR HAWAII'S PEOPLE
News Release from House Republican Caucus
Honolulu – The eight members of the House Republican Caucus voted to protect the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act that provides health care for nearly 90% of the workers in the State of Hawaii.
"The Prepaid Health Care Act passed in 1973 is superior to the federal healthcare bill and the Majority party authors of HB 1134 HD1 SD2 admit this." House Republican Leader Gene Ward of Hawaii Kai pointed out. "This bill, passed by the House yesterday, will jeopardize the superior Hawaii healthcare by repealing a portion of the 1973 law, subjecting Hawaii's program to a potential legal challenge."
"The Attorney General also continues to have doubts about this bill," Rep. Cynthia Thielen of Kailua reaffirmed. "As recently as March 2nd the Attorney General reminded the Legislature that the proposed repeal of Part V of the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act would likely be preempted by the Employee Retirement Income and Security Act, known as ERISA."
Under the Hawaii Prepaid Healthcare Act of 1973 employers are obligated to provide healthcare insurance for their employees who work more than 20 hours per week for four consecutive weeks. The ERISA Federal law of 1974 clearly stated that if Hawaii changed its health insurance law in any substantive manner, such as what is being proposed in HB 1134, then the Federal law would take over and Hawaii's health care program would no longer be in effect.
"The Hawaii Congressional delegation said that the Federal law would not jeopardize Hawaii's health insurance system, despite language in the federal law," Rep. Marumoto of Kaimuki, Waialae and Kahala noted. Rep. Marumoto also pointed out that Hawaii's Department of Labor warned that changes to our health care law would be subject to an ERISA pre-emption.
The eight members of the House Republican Caucus joined with concerned Democrats in calling for a delay of this legislation.
Now why would the Legislature put the Prepaid Healthcare Act at risk? >>> Health Insurance? No need: Abercrombie promises to dump Prepaid Health Care Act