Hawaii Legislature considers privatizing hospitals

Flickr Creative Commons User: jdnx
Flickr Creative Commons User: jdnx
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaii Legislature is considering a proposal to allow regional hospitals to be bought by private companies.

The bill sparked conflicting testimony from residents of Maui and the Big Island during a hearing earlier this week.

Some residents say they support privatization for public hospitals that lack money and resources to provide quality health care.

But others worry that privatization could lead to job cuts. They also don't want a mainland company to control local healthcare.

Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran from Maui says residents' concerns are valid but thinks privatization could improve care while decreasing costs.

The Senate ways and means committee will hear the bill next after the health committee passed it this week.

The mainland-based healthcare nonprofit Banner Health wants to run hospitals on Maui and the Big Island.

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