Akina writes in Wall Street Journal about ways to fix Hawaii healthcare

The following is a “Reader Alert” that was sent to everyone on the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii’s email list on Dec. 7 2021.

HONOLULU, Dec. 7, 2021 >> Readers of The Wall Street Journal were provided a diagnosis over the weekend about what has been ailing Hawaii’s healthcare system.

Keli’i Akina, president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, said Hawaii’s dangerously diminished healthcare capacity is due to the state’s high taxes, its so-called certificate-of-need laws and other forms of government intervention into the medical marketplace.

His article, “Hawaii Is No Paradise if You Need Medical Care,” was published online Friday and in the newspaper’s print edition on Saturday. The Wall Street Journal is one of the nation’s most respected newspapers, with a circulation of almost 3 million readers.

“It’s wonderful that a publication such as The Wall Street Journal has allowed us to tell Hawaii’s story about the pitfalls of government interference into healthcare,” Akina said. “Our experience is a warning as to what other states should not do, if they wish to make healthcare more available and less expensive. It also will help policymakers in Hawaii realize that they are not operating in a vacuum; their counterproductive policies are being noticed nationwide, and maybe this will help motivate them to get on the right path.”

Here is how Akina’s Wall Street Journal article begins:

“When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, the only thing Hawaii had going for it was that it could strictly control who came and went. The Aloha State, however, was ill-prepared to handle the increased burden on its medical system, and authorities used that as an excuse to impose lockdowns on all economic and social activity—to ‘flatten the curve’ and prevent excess demand at local hospitals.

“Nineteen months later, some of those lockdown measures are being lifted, but many remain. COVID-19 eventually will morph from a pandemic disease to an endemic one, and presumably Hawaii’s constitutional balance of powers and freedoms will be fully restored. But Hawaii’s healthcare capacity shortage will continue, at least until the state’s political authorities tackle with earnest its multiple causes.

“Hawaii has among the fewest hospital beds per capita of any state and the 10th longest emergency-room wait times. For years it has wrestled with a severe doctor shortage and a lack of specialty care in its rural areas. These shortages are the result of decades of high taxes, voluminous regulations and certificate-of-need laws.”

To read more, you can access the full article here. However, it is behind a paywall, so you will have to either subscribe to The Wall Street Journal to finish reading it or wait until early next month when it will be posted on the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii website.

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