HONOLULU (KHNL) - Seven months after it was launched, Governor Linda Lingle has eliminated funding for a universal child healthcare program.
Due to progress in increasing Medicaid enrollment for children, state officials will stop giving health coverage to the 2,000 children enrolled in the Keiki Care Plan, starting November 1.
Rep. John Mizuno (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, Fort Shafter) was one of the strongest advocates for universal healthcare to children in Hawaii.
He fired back at Governor Lingle for eliminating the fund.
"There are no throw away people in our society, only people who have less means to healthcare, such as our needy and low income children," said Rep. Mizuno. "I am shocked and saddened by this callous act to disregard a law passed by the State Legislature and to not fund healthcare to our most needy children.
"I believe we're witnessing the current administration's neglect, and, as a result, thousands of Hawaii's children and families will suffer." Rep. Mizuno continued. "It is completely unacceptable that thousands of children will now be denied healthcare coverage. I will fight to make certain we can introduce and pass a measure in 2009 to provide access to healthcare to our people."
Hawaii lawmakers approved the health plan last year as a way to ensure every child from birth to 18 years old, who didn't already have health insurance, can get basic medical help.
The Hawaii Medical Services Association operates the program as a public-private partnership.
HMSA will maintain their coverage through the end of the year without government support.
While state funding will stop next month for the Keiki Care Plan, the Administration will continue supporting the other two portions of the three-year pilot project to expand health coverage for children.