Maui is in a healthcare crisis. It is the only major Hawaiian Island that has only one hospital. Our people have no choice of where to go for hospital treatment.

Unfortunately, that one hospital is inadequate and not meeting the needs of the residents of Maui. Maui Memorial Hospital is antiquated, dreadfully short of beds, lacks essential equipment and is often impossible to reach by automobile or ambulance. Wonderful folks are dying needlessly.

Long time residents are moving back to the Mainland because their healthcare needs cannot be met here.

People are flying to Oahu and the mainland for routine medical care and emergency services not available here.

Excellent doctors and nurses are leaving the island in frustration. If a disaster (such as an earthquake, tsunami, plane crash, terrorist attack, etc.) were to occur on Maui it would be truly catastrophic.

Maui doctors and citizens have been working diligently, for the past several years, find a solution to this critical situation. Our dreams have come true in the form of MALULANI: a state of the art, full service hospital that is privately funded and yet will serve all residents and visitors of Maui, regardless of their ability to pay.

The land and funding for the facility are in place. The healthcare options and services that can be available to the people of Maui are incredible. And yet Malulani will not cost the taxpayers a penny.

Tragically, the approval to proceed with the building of Malulani failed in the antiquated, corrupt Certificate of Need (CON) process. Maui Memorial is a monopoly and is desperately fighting competition.

Politicians from Oahu refused to listen to the citizens of Maui and we are outraged at being denied what we so badly need and deserve. This should not be a political issue.

It is merely an issue that involves what is right for the people of Maui. We should have what all the other Hawaiian Islands have, and what every state in the U.S. has, and that is freedom of choice in healthcare.

The citizens of Maui deserve excellent healthcare options and should not be forced to subsidize the underperforming hospitals throughout the State of Hawaii.

Gov. Linda Lingle will be introducing two pieces of legislation for your consideration on January 22. I hope our lawmakers will consider them carefully and support of the people of Maui by exempting Malulani from the CON process.

”’Linda Caldwell is a resident of Kihei, Maui.”’

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