Senator holding up progress at hospital
Forgive me for being late on my series. My son got married in New York, and that took precedence.
Today, in our quest for why we can't have a hospital that offers all services on Maui, let's talk about the queen of union puppets, Sen. Roz Baker. She is an expert only in the art of arrogance. If you look on her website for who endorses her, you will see a list of 24 unions. The only Maui union is Maui Contractors Association. What does this mean? It means her loyalty and campaign contributions are state-based, Oahu-centric, and not Maui-based.
Workers at Maui Memorial Medical Center want a good hospital to work in, where it isn't such a struggle to provide care. They want needed supplies and equipment.
Here's the Roz Baker trick: she claims to be for Maui. She will say she wants good healthcare. She dances all around the healthcare issues, but behind the scenes, she stays true to her Oahu union ties and blocks Maui from hospitals such as Banner.
Baker doesn't want to publicly say "no," so she will approve the privatization for public hospitals. Then she will tie a brick around the bill's neck and throw it in the ocean.
Watch her closely. Actions speak louder than words.
Lastly, are you honest? Do you have common sense? Do you care about the people of Maui? Please, will you run for State Senate in 2016 against Sen. Roz Baker? The job is not difficult. Previous experience is not necessary.
JAN SHIELDS, Kahana
The IRS and your health
As Americans watch congressional hearings on the Internal Revenue Service, they should ask themselves what this enormously powerful, corrupt, politically motivated agency might do with its new job of administering ObamaCare.
We have heard testimony from those whose tax exemption was delayed or denied, or who underwent abusive audits, or faced seizure of their accumulated earnings, apparently because someone viewed them as opponents to the powers.
The people who are testifying are obviously still alive.
What if this agency had the power to control access to medical care?
Of course, it will not have this power under ObamaCare. Not exactly. These are the powers that it will have:
The IRS will decide whether you get a subsidy to buy the increasingly expensive health coverage mandated under the law. Since that coverage could cost a third of your income, its "affordability" obviously depends on whether other taxpayers have to help pay for it. And by the way, the subsidy doesn't go to you - it goes to the plan. To qualify, the plan has to please the administration. It has to allocate enough for politically correct "prevention" (such as abortions) and not too much to services that lead to "disparity" (such as hip fractures in the elderly).
The IRS will determine which insurers will survive. A plan that is not eligible for subsidies is likely to die for want of enough customers. The administration has a record of picking winners (its cronies) and losers (its opponents).
The IRS will influence the chances that your job will survive. Your employer may be hit with ruinous fines for not having benefits that qualify, or for having workers who apply for subsidies on the exchange. As the rules are impossibly complex, government agencies have a lot of discretion, which can be used to reward and to punish.
The IRS will control your ability to get real insurance. Big employers are now discovering that they can satisfy the mandate by offering "skinny" plans that are even more limited than the "mini-meds" whose waivers are about to expire. These plans offer all the approved "prevention" you could ever want (likely excluding mammograms, prostate cancer screening and other "unnecessary" items) - but no surgery or hospitalization. If you want to buy insurance as an individual, you may find that premiums have become impossibly expensive, if plans are available at all.
The IRS will determine whether you get your anticipated tax refund - or a demand to pay for the subsidies received by your plan, say, because you got a raise last year. To figure this out, the IRS will have to collect enormous amounts of new information and match it up with data from Social Security, Homeland Security and consumer reporting agencies.
All of this does not mean that the IRS will be dictating your medical care. But the IRS has shown enormous interest in medical records. When executing a search warrant to obtain financial information on a single employee of a healthcare provider, the IRS seized medical records on 10 million Americans. Its agents reportedly threatened to rip servers out of the building if the records were not turned over voluntarily.
The IRS can't be trusted to keep donor lists confidential. How can it be trusted with sensitive medical data?
The government has another potential source of medical data. Almost half of Americans' medical records will soon be in the hands of Epic Systems, whose founder and CEO, Judy Faulkner, is a top Obama donor. Faulkner is reportedly the only industry representative appointed by Obama to the panel overseeing the $19 billion medical records incentive program from which Epic Systems benefits.
Someone observed that if a rifle is mounted on the wall in the first scene of a play, it will be used by the end of the play. Even if the medical data is collected, at huge expense, for a noble purpose, the weapon is there to be used for a sinister purpose if it falls in the wrong hands.
Will the hearings result in meaningful reform? Perhaps. But remember, we have seen sensational hearings on IRS abuses before, not long ago. Relief was temporary. The IRS needs to have its powers permanently curtailed, not expanded.
JANE M. ORIENT, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
Where is the outrage, voters?
Has the state Department of Transportation, the governor or any of our representatives really considered the best interest of Maui by allowing the new airport access road to intersect Hana Highway at yet another stoplight? Or, in their usual self-serving, Oahu-centric manner, have they simply chosen the cheapest solution for the state? After all, Maui is just a Neighbor Island, right?
Have they considered the congestion that will be created by three traffic lights within a couple of miles of each other? Two of those roads are the highest usage arteries on Maui! Have they considered the huge amount of traffic that the road itself will carry when the commercial properties along the new route are up and running? Have they had the foresight to anticipate future airport growth? Worse, have they considered the potential accident rates?
And, more importantly, why have the state and our representatives minimized information on the intersection design? Shouldn't it have been on a ballot a long time ago?
People, aren't you tired of always getting the cheapest solutions? Aren't you tired of always being second string - even if it compromises your well-being? If you are, why do you continue to support the same old politicians?
Voters, where is your outrage?
AL RABOLD, Kula
Schatz the top candidate for the U.S. Senate
Brian Schatz is the best candidate for the Senate. Please lock in your vote early for him. I like Colleen Hanabusa, yet Brian's the best.
DOT BUCK, Wailuku