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Healthcare ‘Barnstorm’ to be Held in Kea‘au

February 4, 2019, 8:00 AM HST
* Updated February 3, 7:31 PM
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Hawai‘i could be the first state in the nation to get universal healthcare in which all residents have medical coverage, according to Dr. Stephen Kemble, a member of the state’s Hawai‘i Health Authority (HHA).

Dr. Kemble will speak in Kea‘au on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, as part of a nationwide “Barnstorm for Healthcare for All.” The Kea‘au Barnstorm will be held from 10:30 a.m. until noon at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall located at 15-1791 14th Ave. in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Dr. Kemble, Harvard trained internist and psychiatrist, raised and practicing on O‘ahu, is an advisor for Physicians for a National Health Program, Dennis B. Miller of Honolulu, a universal healthcare activist and owner of Waikīkī spas, will also talk.

A “Celebration of Life” for the late Peter Altomare, a lifelong Democrat who promoted universal healthcare prior to his passing late in 2018, will follow at the hall.

Although the US is the only developed country in the world that does not guarantee access to basic healthcare for its residents as a human right, Hawai‘i has a long history of caring for its keiki, wahine, kupuna, and ‘ohana, going back as far as Kamehameha I’s “law of the splintered paddle,” according to Dr. Kemble and RoxAnne Lawson, local Barnstorm organizer.

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“All the mechanisms are in place for an expanded program that could cover everyone in the state through the existing Hawai‘i Health Authority, which is charged under Hawai‘i law with overall health policy and designing a universal healthcare system covering all residents,” Kemble said.

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He added that the Hawai‘i Health Authority proposal could reduce Hawai‘i’s healthcare costs 10% to 40% through administrative simplification and negotiating cheaper prices for prescription drugs and depending on how completely HHA recommendations are implemented.

According to Dr. Kemble, neither the Abercrombie and Ige administrations have empowered the HHA to fulfill its mission.

“Along with the other original members of the HHA, my term ended after 2015 but until new members are appointed by the governor, I and two other members of the original HHA who did not resign are still on it, albeit with no power to implement anything,” Dr. Kemble said.

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Lawson invites the public, especially those wanting universal healthcare in Hawai‘i, to attend the Feb. 10, Kea‘au Barnstorm program to learn how to make such healthcare a reality in Hawai‘i. Kemble and Miller “will explain how close we are to having universal healthcare already, what it will take to make it happen, and the steps we need to take to do it,” Lawson said.

Refreshments will be provided. Altomare’s celebration will follow, with a potluck luncheon and lemon tree planting in his honor. Unitarian Rev. Catherine Ishida will facilitate the celebration. Everyone is welcomed. For more information or to RSVP, call Lawson at (808) 747-5614 or email medicare4all.org/actions.

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