About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016

Ka`u residents are invited to OK Farms in Hilo for the sixth annual Hawai`i Farmers Union United
convention, its first on Hawai`i Island. See more below. Photo from OK Farms
APPROXIMATELY 41,000 INDIVIDUALS IN HAWAI`I will see their health insurance rates increase. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Insurance Division released final decisions for 2017 Affordable Care Act individual plan health insurance rates. HMSA proposed a rate change of 43.3 percent, and DCCA approved a 35 percent increase. It also approved Kaiser’s proposed 25.9 percent rate change.
      “The Insurance Division’s approval of rates was made pursuant to the statutory requirement that rates cannot be excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory,” said State Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito.
      “Healthcare costs continue to rise at a significant pace, while healthcare utilization in ACA plans continue to be extremely high, not only in Hawai`i, but nationwide. This highlights a challenge in balancing these rising healthcare costs with ensuring affordable access to health insurance,” Ito said. “While we hoped to maintain rates at a more stable level, we found the premium increases necessary for carriers to continue to provide ACA individual coverage within the state. Hawai`i remains committed to ensuring health care for all and continues to look for ways to improve health insurance access.”
      Utilizing rate and policy analysts and actuaries, the Insurance Division closely reviews all submitted data to ensure that rates are adequate, fair and justified. With the rising costs of the healthcare delivery system, rates must also be set at levels that are adequate to prevent insolvency and keep competition in the market. Inadequate rates could result in an insurer failing to meet statutory solvency requirements, which would jeopardize policyholders and providers under their plans.
      Consumers are encouraged to review and understand the offered ACA plans during open enrollment starting Nov. 1.
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Sen. Josh Green Photo from State of Reform
KA`U’S STATE SEN. JOSH GREEN, M.D. discussed his legislative priorities with State of Reform, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between health care and health policy.
      Green said he is spending time on workforce issues, trying to get physicians and nurse practitioners to work in Hawai`i.
      Lack of access to treatment for prescription medication overdoses is another of Green’s concerns. He said the state has had some success with the issue, but that there needs to be more done.
      Regarding the state’s publicly operated hospital systems, which include Ka`u Hospital, Green said that because of a “difficult payer mix, a lot of Medicare and Medicaid on the neighbor islands,” those hospitals will “never be in black.” According to Green, over 50 percent of people on the Big Island are on Medicaid, and in Hawai`i, with a total of 1.4 million people, 345,000 are on Medicaid.
     “With one out of four people on Medicaid, there’s not enough reimbursement to keep doctors in the state in practice in small businesses, which is what practices are,” Green said. “Community hospitals … are always threatening to cut services. We have to have a different model, so we’re reshaping the model of our health care system.”
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Sen. Mazie Hirono
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO LED A COALITION OF SENATORS to urge the Justice Department to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute individual wrongdoing at Wells Fargo Bank after revelations that the bank’s employees had opened millions of accounts without customer approval. In September, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued its largest penalty to date of over $100 million to the bank as a result of this multi-year, multi-state fraud. The senators wrote a letter urging Attorney General Loretta Lynch not only to hold Wells Fargo accountable as a corporation, but also prosecute individual executives who may have broken the law.
      “Americans are rightly frustrated when they see that justice for the wealthy and powerful is very different than justice for everybody else,” the senators wrote. “A bank teller that takes a handful of bills from the cash drawer is likely to face charges for theft and prison time. She can’t hide behind an army of lawyers and corporate policies that diffuse accountability for those at the top.
      “Meanwhile, an executive who oversees a massive fraud that implicates thousands of bank employees and costs customers millions of dollars can walk away with a hefty retirement package and millions in the bank. It’s no wonder that Americans are skeptical of the effectiveness of our criminal justice system. … 
      “Every time the Department of Justice settles a case of corporate fraud without holding individuals accountable, it reinforces the notion that the wealthy and powerful have purchased a higher class of justice for themselves. …
      “While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency settlements in this case are a good first step toward providing restitution to Wells Fargo’s customers, they are no substitute for a thorough Justice Department investigation into potential wrongdoing by senior executives at the bank. We hope the Department follows through … and brings all the resources it has to bear on investigating the conduct of Wells Fargo’s senior leadership.”
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Ka`u chapter President Greg Smith invites residents
to HFUU's annual convention starting Friday.
KA`U RESIDENTS ARE INVITED TO HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED’S sixth annual convention. From Friday, Oct. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 16, O.K. Farms in Hilo hosts the event for the first time on Hawai`i Island. This will be an opportunity for members, the farming community and local food advocates to come together to learn about issues such as regenerative soil, trellis farming, tropical fruit growing, the future of hemp and medicinal cannabis in Hawai`i, and much more.
      Speakers from the mainland and Hawai`i will be brought together to look at the future of agriculture here. Keynote speakers will be U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, state Sen. Russell Ruderman and state Rep. Chris Lee. Experts in the field of soil science like Bob Schaffer, Kim Chang and Mike Dupont will also be speaking. Hawai`i’s Ken Love will be talking about value-added products and his unique look at agriculture here. Expert growers and producers from the mainland will talk about the potential of hemp and medicinal cannabis in Hawai`i. Trellis farming expert Peter Sallares from Australia will bring a fresh look at growing fruit trees in Hawai`i to help increase yields while farming the same amount of land. Two natural farming methods, Cho and JADAM, will be discussed and demonstrated.
      “This is truly an opportunity to interact and talk about farming with people who are looking towards the future of agriculture for our great state, said Greg Smith, president of HFUU’s Ka`u chapter.
      HFUU represents farmers, operators, gardeners, landscapers, foodies, suppliers and anyone who understands the importance of good food for Hawai`i. It supports education for members as well as for youth to understand farming and how food grows. It work toward building relationships with legislators to help pass policy that can support farming in Hawai`i, with the hope of creating legislation that fosters sustainability as well as security in the agricultural sector for Hawai`i.
      Register at hfuuhi.org.
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Holding signs, from left, seniors Tristan Davis, Zaylee Pascubillo,
Alysha Gustafson-Savella and Kathryne Pataray played
their final home volleyball games yesterday.
Photo from Taylor's Treasures Photography.
TROJAN WAHINE HOSTED HONOKA`A ON SENIOR NIGHT. The varsity volleyball team’s final home match of the regular season yesterday went five games. After Honoka`a won the first game, Ka`u came back and won the next two. Honoka`a then won the fourth game by two points and the tie-breaker. Final scores were 13-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-27 and 9-15.
      Junior varsity lost with scores of 19-25 and 22-25.
      For their final regular season matches, the teams travel to Pahoa on Wednesday and Laupahoehoe next Saturday.
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PARTICIPANTS LEARN ABOUT THE VITAL ROLE of `ohi`a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, its many forms and flower on a free, easy, one-mile walk tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

SENIOR IDs ARE AVAILABLE FOR KA`U RESIDENTS Monday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at St. Jude’s Church in Ocean View.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

See kaucalendar.com.
See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html
and kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.pdf.