Hawaii Health Connector director called to Washington to answer for enrollment delaysUPDATED 11:34 PM HST Mar 26, 2014Video Transcript
Connector. Good evening and thanks for joining us. I'm Paula Akana. Hawaii's health insurance exchange is about to come under fire in Washington, DC. KITV4's Andrew Pereira has exclusive details in our top story at 5... Andrew? Paula, the interim director of the Hawaii Health Connector has been called to Capitol Hill by congressional republicans. After problems with its website caused a two-week delay in open enrollment, the Hawaii Health Connector has become an easy target for Affordable Care Act critics. SEN. SAM SLOM: "YOU KNOW WE TALK ABOUT SCAMS IN HAWAII, PARTICULARLY AGAINST OLDER PEOPLE, HEY I'M SORRY BUT IN MY HUMBLE OPINION THIS IS A SCAM." Next Thursday the heat is about to get even hotter. The Hawaii Health Connector's interim director Tom Matsuda has been called to testify before a House subcommittee... TOM MATSUDA: "WHAT I EXPECT IS TO PROVIDE THE FACTS ABOUT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN HAWAII THE BEST I CAN." Republicans will likely question Matsuda about the 5,744 individuals who signed up for healthcare through the Hawaii Health Connector since its launch Oct. 15. Far fewer than expected... TOM MATSUDA: "WELL, I MEAN ALL I CAN DO IS TELL THEM WHAT WE DID, RIGHT? AND PEOPLE WILL JUST HAVE TO DRAW THEIR OWN CONCLUSIONS." The Health Connector received more than 200-million dollars in federal grants and has 95-million left. Matsuda is awaiting clarification on whether any of that money can be used beyond the end of the year to cover the cost of operations and maintenance. TOM MATSUDA: "WE DON'T HAVE ANY EXACT FIGURES, THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO WORK ON WITH OUR FEDERAL PARTNERS." Hawaii lawmakers meanwhile are contemplating how much cash may be needed to keep the Hawaii Health Connector afloat beyond 2014. Preliminary figures suggest about $15 million per year, however the state auditor may have a different number. REP. DELLA AU BELATTI: "I THINK WHAT WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT COMING WEEKS IS A POSSIBLE INFORMATIONAL BRIEFING TO SEE WHAT THE PRELIMINARY DATA IS FROM THE AUDITORS." But state Sen. Sam Slom isn't waiting. He's asked the U.S. Government Accounting Office to investigate how the Hawaii Health Connector has spent its federal funds. SEN. SAM SLOM: "UNFORTUNATEL Y IT'S BECOME MORE ABOUT MONEY THEN ABOUT HEALTHCARE AND HEALTH INSURANCE." Rep. Au Belatti says allowing the Health Connector to collapse may not be an option since it MAY cause complications with Hawaii's prepaid healthcare law passed in 1974. We're told executive directors from other state healthcare exchanges have also been called to Capitol Hill next week to testify. Paula?