July 18, 2002
The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has been awarded a
$1,116,429 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration
(HRSA) State Planning Grants Program of the Department of Health and
Human Services. Hawaii was one of just 12 states to receive the grant,
which will enable the DOH to conduct research and determine policies
that will provide greater access to affordable health insurance
coverage to all Hawaii residents.
Governor Benjamin Cayetano said, "This grant is a key component in
helping us reestablish Hawaii as a leader in addressing the health
insurance needs of our citizens. It will provide us with the means to
define Hawaii’s uninsured population and will assist us in
developing plans and strategies for offering all uninsured citizens
access to affordable health insurance."
Hawaii ranks among the states with the lowest percentage of
uninsured in the nation, yet between 1997 and 2001, the U.S. Census
Bureau reported that the percent of uninsured grew from 7.5% to 11.1%.
Most people in Hawaii access health insurance either through a unique
employer mandate or through Medicaid. When established in the
1980’s, this system provided near universal coverage for the
state, but as the economy of the islands changed and health care costs
rose, the system no longer functioned as well as intended.
Health Director Bruce Anderson said, "Hawaii is often looked to as a
model for other states to follow. However, the recent increase in
uninsured rates is a concern. It is important that we collect data, do
original research, and maintain the strong collaboration that has been
mobilized in Hawaii around this issue over the past three years."
The grant will be administered in part by the Hawaii Institute for
Public Affairs (HIPA). HIPA is the lead administrator of the Hawaii
Uninsured Project – a statewide coalition of health
organizations, government agencies, community organizations,
legislators, philanthropic organizations, labor unions, businesses and
consumer groups. The Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii
(RCUH) will administer the research component of the grant.
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