Children's health insurance bill moves to full Senate
State Sen. Sam Slom says the bill is unclear on qualification issues
A plan to provide every child in the state with health care insurance advanced out of a key Senate committee yesterday.
Under House lawmakers' Keiki Care plan, the state and Hawaii Medical Service Association would split the cost of covering all uninsured children at a cost of up to $4 million.
The plan, which would start as a three-year pilot project, was approved yesterday by the Senate Ways and Means Committee and now goes to the full Senate.
Any bill that would cost the state money must pass through each house's money committee before achieving final approval by the Legislature. The bill has already made it past the House Finance Committee and a full vote by House members.
There were an estimated 16,685 uninsured children living in Hawaii in 2005, according to the Hawaii Uninsured Project. A recent expansion of the state health insurance program will allow 9,000 more children from low-income families to receive insurance.
State Sen. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai) was the only committee member present to vote against the Keiki Care plan.
Among his objections, Slom said the bill did not require any clarification on why the children to be covered by the plan were left uninsured.
"It's a dangerous and costly precedent," he said.