August 7, 2009

Hawaiian Health Care

On the island of Maui, there is only one acute-care hospital, the state-run Maui Memorial Medical Center...

For years, residents of Maui have complained that the hospital does not meet their needs — too few beds, not enough specialists, and long waits in the emergency room. State bureaucrats finally cleared the way earlier this year for a small private hospital to be built, but only after scuttling plans to build a larger, more accommodating private hospital. A larger hospital, they said, would have an adverse impact on "the existing health-care system." In other words, it would compete too effectively with what is now a state-run monopoly.

In addition to Maui Memorial administrators and employees, a consortium of interests on the neighboring island of Oahu, the seat of state government, got in on the act. Jan Shields, a nurse who worked at Maui Memorial and later became an advocate for Malulani, explains why: "Maui is the money island," she says. "The rich get care, because they hop on a plane and fly over to Oahu and go to one of the private hospitals. But the middle class who can't afford to fly over, and certainly the poor, are stuck with the government hospital."

That's the gist of it, isn't it.  Once the State controls health care, they effectively maintain their monopoly except for the rich, who go where ever they want.  Read the whole article to see how the Hawaiian government has blocked private health care on Maui for years and are only now, during the great budget crunch of 2009, allowing a small private hospital alternative.

No comments: