Interim Hawaii Health Connector chief questioned in D.C. Hearing

Published: Apr. 3, 2014 at 12:00 PM HST
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Interim Executive Director Tom Matsuda
Interim Executive Director Tom Matsuda

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tom Matsuda, the interim executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector website, was questioned in Washington D.C. on Thursday as part of a hearing on troubled Affordable Care Act website signups in different states.

Matsuda was asked to explain why less than 8,000 people in Hawaii had enrolled for healthcare plans despite the state having already spent over $100 million dollars in federal grants on the site.

U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa was one of the lawmakers who questioned state officials on the signups, expressing concern over the confusion between Hawaii's pre-paid health law and the affordable care act.

"That's the problem," Rep. Hanabusa said. "That's the reason why the connector doesn't work. That's the reason we can't go on the federal system."

In response, Matsuda said that issue is already being discussed within the state legislature.

"The scope of the ACA is much bigger than that," Matsuda said. "And it includes other areas of the law, so I think there's a complicated legal evaluation that needs to be made."

State lawmakers have scheduled another hearing on the Health Connector today, with program officials asking for an additional $15 million dollars to keep the website going.