Two bills to watch

Two bills that have “crossed over” to the nonoriginating body of the state Legislature – and are thus alive in this legislative session – are of utmost importance to residents of Maui County.

Senate Bill 3064 would allow member hospitals of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (including Maui Memorial Medical Center) to form partnerships with private nonprofit companies.

The partnerships would hopefully stem the losses HHSC has suffered in recent years by making the hospitals more efficient and allowing them to obtain cost savings on supplies that larger companies enjoy because of bulk purchasing.

Hospital and public officials have stated the current structure of HHSC is unsustainable in the long run. A story in The Maui News said there is major work still to be done on the bill, but it has crossed over to the House of Representatives.

The second bill to watch is House Bill 1671. This measure would remove the $93 million cap on the counties’ share of transient accommodations tax revenue. As all the state’s mayors have pointed out, the counties have a large responsibility in maintaining the infrastructure and services that support the visitor industry.

The cap was put on during the recession and, as we pointed out at the time, it was little more than a theft from the counties by the state to shore up its budget. HB 1671 crossed over to the Senate last week.

While there are other bills worthy of observation, these two – affecting our hospital and our ability to support our largest industry – deserve passage.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.