Hawaii Ended Their Universal
Health Care in 2008:
Citing Budget Shortfalls, Only State With Universal Coverage Eliminates Funding After 7 Months.
Bumped to 2013, previously posted in 2010:
HONOLULU, Oct. 17, 2008 –
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.”
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.