Health care law to create gap for 21K in Hawaii

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - The chief executive of the Hawaii Primary Care Association tells a state Senate committee that roughly 21,000 people statewide previously covered under Medicaid will need to buy their own health insurance once President Barack Obama's sweeping federal health care overhaul takes effect next year.

Robert Hirokawa of the Hawaii Primary Care Association said Monday during an informational briefing of the Senate Health Committee that the group represents a so-called "gray" zone that lawmakers should consider as they approach implementing the law.

The gap represents people who make yearly income from roughly 38% above federal poverty levels to twice above the poverty line.

Sen. Josh Green, an emergency room doctor who represents the west side of the Big Island, said the state needs to help close the gaps.

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