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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Civil Unions

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

U.S. soldiers worked to organize earthquake survivors who gathered for supplies in Port-au-Prince yesterday. Help and prayer are ways we can show our aloha.

JAE C. HONG | Associated Press

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I find it ironic and offensive that the opponents of the civil unions Bill 444 chose to hold their rally the day before the celebration of the greatest civil rights leader in history, Martin Luther King Jr. He fought, sacrificed and died for the belief that civil rights belong to all mankind. It's a shame that these opponents judge people by who they love, not by the content of their character.

ANNE P. RAUH | Honolulu



After the state turned Medicaid over to Mainland managed-care companies last year, physicians faced a wave of absurd denials for maintenance drugs, including inexpensive generics. These problems were blamed on startup glitches, and the state stepped in temporarily to cover problems.

This month, we are again seeing a wave of absurd denials. I received denial letters this week for inexpensive generics for two patients covered by Evercare. Both are on long-term medications that cannot be stopped without high risk of severe anxiety, confusion and seizures. One is being treated for a seizure disorder. Evercare's pharmacy benefits manager denied my requests for prior authorization, and I was told there was no recourse. I have contacted Evercare's local management for assistance, as the cost of emergency care if these patients' medications are stopped will far outstrip the cost of their generic drugs.

This kind of senseless interference in medical decisions, combined with impending Medicaid fee cuts, is driving private-practice physicians away from seeing Medicaid patients. I can't imagine that pushing these patients into emergency care will save Medicaid money. We need a law to stop insurance companies from practicing medicine without a license.

STEPHEN B. KEMBLE, M.D. | Honolulu



This constant rehashing of rail issues only further delays a much-needed transit system for Oahu. Countless opportunities have already been provided for public input on the various stages of this project. Now the American Institute of Architects has arrived late at the table with another proposal in opposition of elevated rail, which was selected after a full public process.

There comes a time when we have to move forward. This is one of those times. Let's not jeopardize our federal funding by going back to the drawing board. We urge the governor to support the current plan and respect the public process.

JACKIE BOLAND | Associate state director, AARP Hawaii



The predicament that many Hawaii voters and taxpayers find themselves in regarding the need for a very costly special election to fill a vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives is not a result of a confluence of unforeseen, unnatural and unexplained forces. Rather, it is the result of Rep. Neil Abercrombie's deliberate decision to quit his job and seek greater glory in a higher office.

As an informed political leader, he must have known that his decision to quit would result in the temporary yet significant loss of representation for his constituents, and he must have known that a special election to replace him would be costly. All this at a time when the state is broke.

The governor should send Abercrombie the bill for the cost of this special election, and voters should remember Abercrombie as the gubernatorial candidate who clearly put his career and personal ambitions ahead of his commitment to his supporters as well as other taxpayers.

ROBERT LEBO | Honolulu


As a concerned citizen of this world, I can't help but feel empathy for the people caught up in the catastrophic earthquake last Tuesday in Haiti.

In just a matter of seconds, thousands of people lost their lives in an incomprehensible disaster in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I believe that it's the American way to extend our help whenever people are in time of need.

Despite the economic crisis, President Obama promised rescue aid and assistance to Haitians overcoming the natural disaster. I applaud him and every other American who shows charity during this difficult time.

It is the best time to show our aloha care to our fellow Haitians even in the simplest way, prayer.

DEMIE GRACE DELOS SANTOS | Student, Aiea High School


Indeed the travesty of the Haiti earthquake touches us all. After more than one week, I did not see the president of Haiti come forth and address his country and the people. It seems that he's hiding or taking care of himself and his family. I only see American presidents and officials doing something in that country.

Doesn't the Haiti president care for the people? Am I missing some news here?