Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Thursday, October 08, 2009

Cancer patients need care reform

What's all the fuss about health care reform?

Let's keep it simple.

All full-time workers in Hawaii have health care, but part-time workers don't.

Health care reform will give us options. Yes, it will cost money, but it's either pay now or pay later.

As a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, I've seen how important it is to have health care for all that is affordable, accessible, adequate and administratively simple.

Cancer patients and their families know too well the lesson that you learn about your insurance only when you are told, “;You have cancer.”;

My first husband and sister lost their lives to this terrible disease. They both had mandated health care, but my children and grandchildren on the mainland don't.

For all the cancer patients, survivors and those who will get cancer in the future, we need health care reform now!

Jennifer Hausler

Pearl City


HSTA made best of bad situation

I was a surprised to see Diane Marshall's letter in which she expressed some dissatisfaction with the recently ratified contract between the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the state (”;Teachers' deal quite shameful”; Star-Bulletin, Oct. 1).

She specifically mentioned problems she perceived with the loss of instructional time for students and a perceived increase in health care premiums for retired teachers in the contract.

With regard to the latter, the contract language did not mention an increase in retiree premiums but referred to the contribution from the state. The retiree plans, offered through the HSTA Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (VEBA) Trust, are managed by the VEBA Trust board of trustees. The board is composed of both active teachers and representatives of the HSTA retirees organization. Retirees are provided a range of health care providers and premiums.

As for the loss of instructional time, the HSTA negotiations team, made up of Ms. Marshall's fellow teachers, worked hard to eliminate furloughs and succeeded in reducing the number of furlough days from three to two. The team also was able to get an agreement that no licensed tenured teachers would be laid off. Had teachers been laid off, as Ms. Marshall knows, class sizes would have to be increased, which would be extremely detrimental to student learning as well.

As a fellow teacher and a public school parent, I am concerned about the impact furlough days will have on students. The HSTA has been working with the Department of Education to restore some of this time by enabling teachers at each school to use their professional development time as instructional time. We will continue to work with parents to help them and their children through the challenges presented by furloughs.

We are also calling on our elected officials to find ways to restore the education budget and bring the furloughs to an end as soon as possible.

Wil Okabe

President, Hawaii State Teachers Association


Summer games going to be chilly

President Barack Obama's attempt to bring the Summer Olympics to Chicago was a non-issue, for in Rio it is winter at that time.

Brrrrrrrr. Better bring your warm jackets. I have skied there several times during the months we call summer.

All is not lost. Maybe some genius pundit will discover that when it is winter here, it is summer there and vice versa.

Jim Delmonte





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