Hawaii’s Compulsory Health-Care System Is No Model

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Some writers have been criticizing Rush Limbaugh for his remarks about health care after he was released from the hospital on Jan. 1, 2009. Limbaugh said, “Based on what happened to me here, I don’t think there’s one thing wrong with the American health-care system. It’s working just fine, just dandy.”

In response, a post on the Service Employees International Union blog describes Hawaii as “a shining example of progressive health care reform.” And Anthony Wright over on The New Republic website touts Hawaii’s health-care mandates as a success, and claims that Limbaugh is endorsing the state’s Prepaid Health Care Act.


I can give you a personal perspective on Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act (PHCA), since I have been familiar with and opposed to it since before it became law in 1974. When the PHCA was first proposed, I was the economist at Bank of Hawaii; I analyzed the legislation at the time and found that it would have a negative impact on Hawaii’s small-business community and our state’s overall business climate. Over the three and a half decades since then, I have been in a position