Fireworks at Health Care Forum - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Fireworks at Health Care Forum

Rep. Josh Green Rep. Josh Green
Steve Van Ribbink Steve Van Ribbink

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- The biggest hot button issue during Wednesday's round table discussion was insurance reimbursements.

It's an issue that deeply divides many doctors and the state's largest insurance carrier HMSA. 

"HMSA, it's been said a million times over, is the 800-pound gorilla," said Rep. Josh Green, State House Health Chair.  "They have 700,000 of our people here in the state of Hawaii that they insure, 700,000 that's two-thirds of the people, so they determine health care policy. When they set reimbursements that's what your going to take, so when reimbursements are low if you don't get along with HMSA, it's time to go. You can't possibly survive."

"The community is telling us their cost of health care is too high," said Steve Van Ribbink, HMSA Chief Financial Officer.  "The providers are telling us they aren't getting enough. But we are trying to keep as little as possible and that's why we try to distribute as much as we can to providers. There will just come a point, a tipping point where the employers can no longer become burdened with more cost.

"The people in Kona and West Hawaii, they can't find a doctor, so what good is paying your dues at all? That's one thing. Second of all, a non-profit that pays its chief executive $1.2 million," said Green.  "This is not consistent anymore with common sense this is a Bishop Estate crisis and no one looks into it and the reason no one looks into it is because they're not just an 800-pound gorilla.  People are downright afraid when I talk to providers.  They don't want to speak up because they're afraid they're not going to get their reimbursements and they're going to get closed down and they can't even be a doctor."

All parties agreed more needs to be done to curb a health care crisis.

More preventative medicine and more personal responsibility on the part of the patients needs to be part of the solution.

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