BILLS THAT PASSED, OR FAILED, AT THE LEGISLATURE
(HB 2834 SD2 CD1)
Establishes the Hawaii Rx Program to make prescription drugs more affordable to Hawai'i residents. Under the program, the state would negotiate discounts on medicine with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of people in a purchasing pool. People in the pool would be able to buy the discounted medicine at pharmacies. The program is scheduled to begin January 2005. The governor is expected to sign the bill.
Medicaid prescription drug expansion
(HB 1950 SD2 CD1)
Establishes the Medicaid prescription drug expansion program to offer discounted prescription drugs to qualified patients whose income is at or below 300 per cent of the federal poverty level. The governor is expected to sign the bill.
Adult residential care homes
(HB 1749 HD2 SD1 CD1)
Requires the Department of Health to disclose to adult residential care home operators the prior criminal history of prospective residents if the resident was convicted of violent crimes or acquitted by reason of insanity of a violent crime. The bill grew out of a case where a care home operator was allegedly murdered by one of her charges in 2000. The care home operator was never told the patient had been acquitted of murder by reason of insanity in 1984.
Long-term care board
(HB 2638 HD2 SD1 CD1)
Establishes a temporary board of trustees to design a Hawai'i long-term care financing program, including the determination of the amount and means of collection of a tax and the nature and amount of benefits. The board is required to report to the Legislature next year.
(SB 2775 HD1 CD1)
Appropriates $5,000,000 to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation for the year ending July 1 to repay money advanced by the state, and to pay for mandated and rural healthcare costs.
(SB 3053 SD2 HD1 CD1)
Creates the public health nursing program under the Department of Health.
Would have allowed terminally ill, competent people to obtain lethal prescriptions from doctors that they could take themselves. The bill passed the House but failed in the Senate.
Long-term care tax
Would have collected a monthly $10 tax from all employees and self-employed people to fund a program that would provide participants long-term care benefit payments. The program would have given disabled people who paid into the program up to $70 per day for long-term care for up to a year.
Long-term care credit
Would have provided a long-term care tax credit to people who buy private long-term care coverage. The credit would have been equal to either half the premiums paid or $2,500.
State health authority
Would have established the State Health Authority to propose a plan to provide medical assistance for all citizens of Hawai'i.
Would have established a comprehensive statewide strategy to address the issues related to the poor oral health of Hawai'i's people, especially its children.
Would have dismantled the quasi-public Hawaii Health Systems Corporation's network of 12 hospitals and place them in county regions.
Would have allowed registered pharmacists to dispense emergency contraceptives, also called the "morning after pill," without a prescription. The bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.
Would have prohibited smoking in restaurants and workplaces except for bars, hotel rooms, and nightclubs.
Would have required health insurers to offer coverage for the parents of adults who purchase policies under their employers.