LTC Bullet--Hawaii's Care Plus Program, a Status and Trip Report

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

St. Louis, MO--

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LTC BULLET--HAWAII'S CARE PLUS PROGRAM, A STATUS AND TRIP REPORT

The State of Hawaii is considering a scheme for compulsory government long-term care "insurance" funded through mandatory payroll deductions to be extracted from all employees in the state.

Last June, we published an LTC Bullet titled "Hawaii's CarePlus Program" which severely criticized this proposal (read it at http://www.centerltc.com/bullets/archives2002/367.htm ).

In the meantime, CarePlus (also known as "Vicky Care," for former Governor Benjamin Cayetano's wife who was the plan's biggest proponent) failed to pass in the state legislature.

On November 5, Hawaiians elected a new governor (Linda Lingle) of a different party who is less likely to support CarePlus. Nevertheless, the proposal's advocates intend to push forward even though they acknowledge passage of the plan requires an "uphill battle."

Interested parties in Hawaii read our critique of CarePlus last June. They invited Center for Long-Term Care Financing President Stephen Moses to come to Honolulu and explain to the powers-that-be why CarePlus will do more harm than good if passed.

Thanks to generous grants from Standard Insurance and the Milbank Foundation, Steve spent three days in Hawaii last week speaking to a wide range of people about long-term care financing in general and CarePlus in particular.

Richard Rowland, President of the Grassroot Institute in Honolulu, organized and sponsored a series of briefings for key legislators, policy makers, business people and media. Thanks to Rowland's political savvy, rapport and influence, our message reached many of the most important decision-makers in the state.

The groups Steve addressed included a business roundtable, key state Senators and Representatives, the editorial boards of both major newspapers, and representatives of the National Association of Independent Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), and the Hawaii Medical Association. He also met with Hawaii's Medicaid Director and with some of the trustees of the organization promoting CarePlus. Media exposure included The Rick Hamada Experience radio talk show and a thirty-minute film to be broadcast on public access television.

To read Malia Zimmerman's November 12, 2002 story in The Hawaii Reporter titled "Washington-based Think Tank Comes to Hawaii to Debate Hazards of CarePlus," go to http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?6ff685ad-edcd-40ad-8623-8d998c3ef0e4 .

Bottom line, it's all over but the shouting for CarePlus. Steve Moses reports that "I didn't find anyone in Hawaii who believed in CarePlus, with the single exception of the members of the commission promoting it."

If you face similar challenges from counterproductive public policy schemes in your state, consider having the Center for Long-Term Care Financing analyze the situation, write a report, and testify regarding a preferred solution for the long-term care financing challenge. Contact Amy Marohn-McDougall at mailto:amy@centerltc.org or 425-377-9500 to explore the possibilities.