Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023 |
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Kaua‘i clinic closes
Kaua‘i’s health care crisis just got worse with the announcement that another clinic will close in the coming weeks (“Kaua‘i Community Health Alliance closing clinic,” The Garden Island, Aug. 22, 2023).
Hawai‘i’s general excise tax, certificate-of-need laws, licensing requirements and low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates all make it harder for private practice clinics to start up or stay in business.
The excise tax is particularly galling since Hawai‘i is only one of two states to place a broad tax on health care.
It’s even worse for rural clinics, many of which have closed their doors in a struggle to recruit and retain doctors.
Kaua‘i Community Health Alliance CEO James Winkler spoke to the magnitude of the problem at a forum last fall: “We’ve lost 25 percent of our private practices in Hawai‘i in the last two years.”
State lawmakers had a chance to exempt medical care from the GET last session, but they silently killed the bill before its final committee hearing.
Maybe next year the Legislature will listen — before more doctors and nurses shut down their practices.
Jonathan Helton, Policy researcher, Grassroot Institute of Hawai‘i
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