'Time for bickering is over'


POSTED: Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hawaii Republicans criticized President Barack Obama's health care reform speech, saying the plan has the potential to do “;serious damage”; to the current health care system. (Related: Liberals give Obama running room on public plan)

City Councilman Charles Djou, a Republican candidate for Congress in 2010, blasted the estimated $900 billion cost of the program, saying the focus should be on medical malpractice reform, permitting interstate health care, and equalizing the tax treatment of corporate and individual health insurance.

The program could also damage the private health care market as people shun private companies to join the government program, Djou added.

“;I don't think the American people bought into that speech tonight,”; said Jonah Kaauwai, state chairman for the Hawaii Republican Party. “;It's still a possible government takeover of health care.”;

;[Preview]  Local reactions to President's health care speech

Hawaii's largest hospital and health insurance carrier essentially support the President's proposals.

Watch ]


He argued that the public option will cost taxpayers more.

“;Whenever government is involved, there is no fair play in the free market scenario,”; he said.

He criticized the president for skirting around tort reform and said the speech was aimed at Democrats who were on the fence.

“;The only people that needed their minds to be changed was the Democrats tonight,”; he said.

Among Democrats the reception was more positive.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye praised yesterday's speech for explaining the program in greater detail, such as the provision that will not require anyone to change coverage or doctors and another provision that would prohibit an insurance company from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie said the president outlined a “;clear vision of where we are going”; and addressed the cynicism and skepticism behind much of the opposition to the proposal.

“;I'm very, very optimistic, feel very, very good about it,”; he said.