Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary: “Is Hawaii in Play?”

The Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary has this report on Hawaii’s U.S. Senate race today:

“Former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle’s entry into Hawaii’s U.S. Senate race was a signal that the race could get competitive, and the polling already bears that out.

“A new survey by PPP shows that Ms. Lingle, who is running to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka, has made the race a prime opportunity for a GOP pickup. Against Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, Ms. Lingle would trail by six percentage points (48%-42%); against former Congressman Ed Case, Ms. Lingle would actually lead by two (45%-43%).

“Ms. Lingle does so well in the deep-blue state because of her moderate reputation, something she made sure to highlight in her announcement. According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, she pledged, “If there is a law being proposed, whether it’s from the president or from Mitch McConnell, if it’s good for Hawaii I’m for it. If it’s not good for us, I’m against it regardless of who introduces it.

“But it isn’t just the general election that looks close. The two Democrats sparring for the nomination are locked in what could be a competitive and costly battle. Currently, Ms. Hirono leads Mr. Case by just a 45%-40% margin. Ms. Hirono benefits from having the backing of both the state’s biggest power-broker, Sen. Daniel Inouye, and the party base, while the more centrist Mr. Case is viewed more favorably by voters as a whole. Mr. Case, though, has to contend with his party-bucking past. In 2006, he made enemies by mounting a competitive primary against Mr. Akaka, and some Hawaii Democrats have never forgiven him for that show of disloyalty.

“Ms. Hirono and Ms. Lingle squared off in the 2002 gubernatorial election, which the Republican won 52%-47%. Ms. Lingle then won re-election in 2006, a Democratic year, against a different opponent by a 63%-35% landslide. The Republican will likewise need a high level of crossover support if she hopes to win in 2012, when favorite son Barack Obama will also be on the ballot.” — Carl J. Kelm

Reefer Madness

Public Policy Matters challenges a recent  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report on the value of coral:

“Ask the Honolulu man-on-the-street how much he thinks Hawaii’s coral reefs are worth and he’ll say $33.57 billion…that’s per year.

“But why, one might wonder, does the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration care?

“NOAA said it would use the results of its survey of 3,200 Hawaiian households as “a reliable estimate of the value of the coral reef ecosystem around the main Hawaiian islands.” But, again, why does uninformed public opinion matter?”

Hawaii Gets Poor Review in National Medicaid Report

“Hawaii plans to cut Medicaid coverage to 10 (hospital) days a year in April, the fewest of any state.”

That according to an October 24, 2011, report in USA Today by Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News.

The plan still needs federal approval.

Kaiser Health News reports that “Advocates for the needy and hospital executives say the moves will restrict access to care, force hospitals to absorb more costs and lead to higher charges for privately insured patients.”

“States defend the actions as a way to balance budgets hammered by the economic downturn and the end of billions of dollars in federal stimulus funds this summer that had helped prop up Medicaid, financed jointly by states and the federal government.”

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