Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs, Thursday, May 4, 2017

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said she supports an Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, rather than the Trumpcare
bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday. Photo from National Nurses Union
A TRUMPCARE BILL TO REPEAL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, and was sent to the U.S. Senate, which is less likely to pass it. 
Officially called the American Health Care Act, the Trumpcare bill passed the House by a vote of 217-213.
Sen. Mazie Hirono said she
will "stand strong" to protect
affordable health care.
     Sen Mazie Hirono reacted swiftly: “Today, I’m thinking of the thousands of Hawai`i residents I’ve heard from who are living in fear of losing their insurance and other protections they’ve received thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Constituents like Kathryn, a teacher and single parent, who is afraid of losing her insurance because of a preexisting condition; and Anne, who gave birth to a healthy baby boy thanks to Medicaid coverage. The fight to save the Affordable Care Act in the Senate starts today. I will stand strong to ensure Trumpcare does not undermine Prepaid Health Care and Affordable Care Act protections for Hawaii families.”
    Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted: "This is a loss, no doubt. But now we dust ourselves off and use this against them. The resistance grows strong every day. Especially today." Schatz said the "age tax is one of the most offensive parts of this awful bill," and retweeted another Senator's comment, "Trumpcare would mean insurers could charge older Americans 5 x more than they charge younger Americans. Five Times." 
     Referring to allowing for insurers to charge higher health insurance rates for those with
Sen. Brian Schatz called the "age
tax the most offensive part
of this awful bill."
preconditions, and also referring to a group of Republicans applauding the House vote Thursday at a White House hoopla before another congressional vacation, Schatz tweeted: "They are making healthcare more expensive for sexual assault survivors. Then they are celebrating it. Then they are taking 10 days off."
     U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard tweeted,  "Our healthcare system is broken. The AHCA 217 R's voted for today just makes it worse. Let's continue our push for #HR676 - #MedicareForAll." She also tweeted that #AHCA is a giveaway for pharma & ins companies on the backs of the people;" and " #AHCA is worse for our kūpuna, those with preexisting conditions, & those who need maternity, substance abuse, & mental health care."
     This being National Nurses Week, Gabbard, who co-chairs the National Nurses Caucus, urged Congress to pass the Title XIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act "that trains our nurses. Passing it will help fill the one million nursing jobs needed by 2022."
     After voting against Trumpcare,  Gabbard issued a statement: “The bill that passed today is not a healthcare bill—it’s a big handout to insurance and pharmaceutical companies. This bill slashes $880 billion from Medicaid, strips away health benefits like maternity care, substance
Rep. Tulsi Gabard wants
universal health care.
abuse treatment, and mental health services, expands a crippling age tax on our seniors, eliminates healthcare tax credits for over 7 million veterans, and breaks the bank for those with pre-existing conditions. 
     "While corporations rake in over $600 billion in tax breaks, many low-income Americans will see their coverage drop completely. This partisan bill was rushed through, resulting in corporate benefits on the backs of the people. We need real healthcare reform that brings down costs, increases access to quality care, and ensures basic health services are available to all Americans. 
     "As a cosponsor of H.R.676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, I’m working towards a system that will provide universal healthcare to all Americans—a standard met by nearly every other industrialized nation.” 
     The Trumpcare bill is opposed by AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, the National Nurses Union United, the National Disability Rights Network, the AFL-CIO, the National Farmers Union, the National Education Association and many other organizations. 
     The National Nurses Union United issued a list of Trumpcare bill concerns, contending it would:
     Eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which will worsen the health of communities, spread infectious disease, and increase health system costs;
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     Phase out coverage for Medicaid expansion in Medicaid expansion states beginning in 2020, while preventing new states from receiving enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage in order to expand Medicaid;
     Institute a per capita cap for Medicaid, along with the option for states to use a block grant instead. Both options will reduce coverage for the most vulnerable, shift care from clinics to emergency rooms, increase system costs for the chronically ill as they defer treatments because of cost, and unfairly shift the burden of costs to the states;
     Empower individual states to determine eligibility, scope and benefits for Medicaid as per their own discretion, but there will be no increase in federal monies to cover expanded eligibility;
     Eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood which will worsen women’s health, and create burdens for women, families and society from unsafe pregnancies and other health conditions no longer treated;
National Nurses Union came out with a list of concerns over the health
care bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
Photo from National Nurses Union
     Eliminate the definition of “essential benefits” – a move that makes all patients vulnerable to the distortions and marketing games of insurance companies;
      Repeal the cost-sharing subsidies of the ACA, and destroy the ability of 80 percent of people currently buying insurance on the Exchanges to maintain coverage;
     Open the door for junk insurance. The bill includes a penalty for lack of continuous coverage, creating a big incentive for patients to buy low-cost, no-coverage plans;
     Fail to encourage low-cost coverage, because the legislation shifts thousands of dollars in spending from insurance company spending to the individual’s out of pocket costs;
     Reproduce the failed “high – risk pools” of the 1990’s and 2000’s, through the “Patient and Stability Fund, ” stating that "it is inevitable that the number of eligible patients will overwhelm the resources of these high risk pools;"
     Repeal the Medicare Hospital Insurance Tax, which will reduce funding and destabilize for the Medicare program that our nation’s seniors rely on;
     Allow insurers to charge seniors five times the amount of a younger person. "This revision will prove to be deadly for our nation’s seniors, and it reveals the extent to which this reform will benefit the profit margins of insurance companies, at the expense of patients’ lives," stated the National Nurses Union.

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A 14.1 PERCENT INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF FIREARMS registered statewide in 2016 was announced by the Hawai`i Attorney General yesterday. The annual report details state and county firearms registration statistics for calendar year 2016, showing that 53,400 firearms were registered. 
Hawai`i Attorney General Doug Chin
    A total of 21,408 personal firearm permit applications were processed statewide during 2016, marking an 8.4 percent increase from the tally in 2015. Of the applications processed in 2016, 95.7 percent (20,488) were approved and resulted in issued permits; 2.8 percent (592) were approved but subsequently voided after the applicants failed to return for their permits within the specified time period; and 1.5 percent (328) were denied due to one or more disqualifying factors. 
    About half (26,616, or 49.8 percent) of the firearms registered during 2016 were imported from out-of-state, with the remainder accounted for by transfers of firearms that were previously registered in Hawai`i. Firearm registration activity increased dramatically over the course of the 17 years for which these data have been systematically compiled and reported. 
     Statewide, from 2000 through 2016, the annual number of statewide permit applications processed climbed 341.1 percent, the annual number of firearms registered soared 392.2 percent, and the annual number of firearms imported surged 368.2 percent. 
     It is a misdemeanor in the State of Hawai`i to provide falsified information on firearm permit applications, unless the falsified information pertains to criminal or mental health histories, in which case it is a felony offense. In 2016, falsified criminal or mental health information or both were provided in 60.1 percent (197) of the 328 denial cases; falsified information pertaining to anything other than criminal or mental health histories was provided in 1.5 percent (5) of the cases; and no falsified information was provided in 38.4 percent (126) of the cases. 
Makana Kamahele will emcee the Ka`u Coffee
Festival Ho`olaulea, May 27.
 Photo by Eric Einwiller
     Persons with documented mental health histories; those who within one year of their applications were medical marijuana patients; and those with documented alcohol and/or substance abuse treatment histories were the top three types of applicants whose permit applications were denied in 2016. 
     The report Firearm Registrations in Hawai`i 2016 provides a range of additional statistics and analyses focused on firearm permits/licenses, registrations, and denials in the State of Hawai`i and its four counties. The full report can be downloaded from the Department of the Attorney General’s Research and Statistics Branch web site at http://ag.hawaii.gov/cpja/rs.

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THE ENTERTAINMENT LINEUP FOR KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL has been announced for the Ho`olaulea on Saturday, May 27, all day at Pahala Community Center, beginning at 9 a.m. 
     Makana Kamahele is emcee. 
The talent from hula to Hawaiian music and jazz, features: Ab Valencia and Halau Hula Kalehuaki`eki`eika'iu; Hands of Time; Foggy; Halau Hula O Leonalani, with Debbie Ryder; Keaiwa with Demetrius Oliverira; Harry Evengelista and Tui Masaniai; Hannah's Makana `Ohana Halau with Joe Ooka; Jean Pierre Thoma & the Jazz Tones; Sammi Fo and Halau Kahokukauahiahionalani; the Larry Dupio Band and Back Yahd Bruddahs.

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Ocean View Cinco de Mayo Party, Fri, May 5, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., St. Jude’s Episcopal Church. Enchiladas, refried beans, said, beverage & dessert. $8 per person, $15 for two, $20 for family at the door. 939-7555

Paint Your Own Silk Scarf, Sat, May 6, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Volcano Art Center. Patti Pease Johnson helps students open up their creativity and challenge themselves. $50/$45 VAC members. 967-8222

Stewardship at the Summit, Sat, May 6, 12, 20, 26; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Volunteers clear ginger from park trails. Free; park entrance fees apply. nps.gov/havo Realms & Divisions of Kahuku, Sat, May 6, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Pu‘u Kahuku Trail explores the traditional Hawaiian land classification system. Free. nps.gov/havo 

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