Monday | November 20, 2017
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Your Views for November 24

HMSA wants to help

Thank you very much for bringing Ms. Kim Gitzel’s situation to our attention (“Your Views,” Nov. 17). I am truly sorry that Ms. Gitzel is so worried about potential changes to her health plan from the Affordable Care Act. We don’t want anyone to fear the changes brought by the federal health law.

We’ve been in touch with Ms. Gitzel with good news: Everyone who buys insurance directly from HMSA will have the opportunity to extend their current coverage for a year.

Our individual plan members who don’t choose a new ACA plan by Dec. 15 will be re-enrolled in their current plan for another year to ensure they don’t lose coverage.

Individual plan members who want a new plan with added benefits from the ACA like prescription drug coverage can buy a plan directly from us or choose HMSA on the Hawaii Health Connector, the state’s online health insurance marketplace. People who buy coverage on the Hawaii Health Connector may qualify for financial help to pay for their health plan.

As Hawaii’s health care leader, we want to help everyone understand how they’ll be affected by the ACA. Anyone, HMSA member or not, can get answers by calling our toll-free helpline at 1-800-465-4672 or visiting our ACA website at

In December, we’re opening a new HMSA Center @ Hilo where people can talk to health care specialists about the ACA or any aspect of health care.

We’re always here to help.

Do the right thing

I am a lifelong resident of this moku and I do not ever plan to leave. I am so proud of our County Council for standing up for what is right and passing Bill 113. I pray now that Mayor Kenoi does his part.

The future of our children, his children and grandchildren and our aina (that which sustains us) is on his shoulders. That is a lot for one man to carry and I encourage him to dig deep within his naau and do he right thing.

Agriculture is a necessity for all of us whether we grow our food or just eat it. We are on an island, isolated by a big ocean that protects us from pollens and seeds, flying though the air or dropping out of some farmer’s truck and contaminating our non-GMO crops and if the Department of Agriculture does its job, we could control what is brought into our island.

We have the most available ag land in this state and we can be self-sufficient if we choose to. It is a choice.

However, if we allow GMO in infiltrate our island, we loose that choice. If you don’t fight for yourself, then fight for your children, fight for your grandchildren and beyond.

Someday, when GMO supporters can prove it is not causing the health problems and when they don’t use pesticides or herbicides, we can revisit the issue.

Make history, Kenoi

To the honorable Mayor William Kenoi: You have a great opportunity to place Hawaii Island and your enlightened leadership on the global stage by signing the GMO prohibition Bill 113. Make history by adopting an important stop-gap measure, heeding the experience of multitudes of growers from around the world: GMOs contaminate. Do not let another form of invasive species land on these shores. Protect the aina. Protect the people.

The Hawaii County Council, in its wisdom, allows for agricultural emergencies in the bill to balance the risk for all growers. The council exempts GMO papaya because it is impossible to clean up the contamination. The council realizes that groups can rationalize the need for GMOs, but has chosen instead to fill the regulatory void, acknowledging that the entire agriculture sector should not be overtaken by a patented technology offering protections to just one side.

The council, in its wisdom, heeds the call of the majority of its constituents.

Without this law, there would be no limit to the expansion of the GMO cornfields on the Hamakua coast and elsewhere on this island.

Without this law and the lack of federal and state leadership, growers and the county would have no protections from contamination or crop losses.

Without this law damage to the web of life, the surrounding environment, and the sea, from GMO DNA in field runoff could never be cleaned up.

If your concern is one of economics, please note that GMO papaya sales have dropped from $15 million in 1998 to just $9 million in 2011, due to global consumer rejection of GMOs.

By signing this bill, all export agriculture can proudly claim that it is non-GMO, and Hawaii’s growers can prosper under this greatly appreciated and coveted image.


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