Healthcare, Vets And Sentencing

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - March 01, 2006
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Here we go again. The Fear Factor spread by the don’t-touch-my-money crowd as soon as House Speaker Calvin Say suggested we at least look at the merits of a more socialized medical system.

The tiny but plenty squeaky Grassroots Institute of Hawaii sounded the first alarm:

“Want to wait in line at the hospital for medical care in the same fashion as one must when going to the Department of Motor Vehicles?”

That’s a 50-years-ago argument full of 21st century holes.

Most universal health insurance advocates only ask for a single-payer system where government collects for and reimburses for health care while keeping the delivery of services private, except where our state hospitals might step in because there’s no private facility.

Insure everyone for all medical services not deemed frivolous and unnecessary by a physicians board. No patient co-payments or deductibles. Physicians and hospitals would no longer bill patients directly for covered services.

How to pay for that?

We already pay for 65 percent of our health care with federal and state taxes and tax write-offs for employers who help pay for employee health insurance. We’d keep Medicare. Finance all gaps with an 8 or 9 percent payroll tax on employers and an income tax add-on for all individuals of 2 or 3 percent.

More tax? Yes, but we all get coverage. No insurance policies or deductibles or co-payments. No hassles.

But we need to scrap that mind set of the leave-my-money-aloners that government cannot ever do better than private enterprise. That might be true were it not that private medical insurers only exist where there’s enough profit in it for the investors.

They only get that by denying coverage.

Thirty states are considering “fair share” laws to make companies devote a percentage of their payroll to health care. Retailers are furious.

But they’d do well to back universal health care.

three star

With this item I hope to reunite a quiet, genial, 88-year-old 100th Infantry Battalion veteran with his WWII brothers here and on Kauai.

His name is Kinichi Ishikawa, and in 1944 at age 25 he left Kauai, went back to his old homestead in Pearl City, enlisted in the Army and went to war with Alpha Company of the Nisei 100th at the Volturno River, Anzio Beach, the road to Rome, Sassetto and Belvedere.

Three months into the fighting he was shattered by an artillery shell and spent 13 months in hospitals.

Back in Hawaii, he went to live on and work some of Sam Wilcox’s land at Hanalei. Sam died, but Kinichi was allowed to stay on the land - still there today, cultivating taro and fruits.

He never learned that there is a 100th Battalion vets chapter on Kauai.

So maybe the club can send him a newsletter. P.O. Box 174, Hanalei, HI 96714. Maybe a note or two from old mates?

Kinichi seems as fit as a man of 60, drives tractor, plants and pulls taro.

And listens to the operas he came to love amid all that warfare in Italy.


three star

Shaun Rodrigues robs two Manoa women of some jewelry and gets 20 years in prison. Kumu hula Ray Fonseca hits and kills a moped rider when he was driving while on cocaine, and the prosecutor recommends six months jail.

How you figgah?

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