Stop Taxing Healthcare in Hawaii: COVID19 Worsening Physician Shortage

Stop Taxing Healthcare in Hawaii: COVID19 Worsening Physician Shortage

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Hawaii Physician Shortage Task Force started this petition to patients and

1) Hawaii imposes a 4.166% (4.4386 or 4.712% if subject to the county surcharge) General Excise Tax (GET) on all state business activity (taxes gross revenues), including medical services delivered outside of hospitals. The GET is generally passed on to the consumer (e.g. the 4.712% tax on groceries/gas/dining/etc. are GET assessments “passed on” to consumers).

2) Hawaii's GET taxes patients for getting sick or injured. It penalizes physicians who serve Medicare/Medicaid/TRICARE populations who are already accepting substantially lower reimbursement rates even before the GET is applied.   

—If you have private insurance: Patients pay the GET. The GET is passed on to patients. If it’s not on the bill, then it’s hidden in insurance premiums.

—If you have Medicare: GET cannot be "passed on." The doctor or clinic pays the GET.

—If you have Medicaid/QUEST or TRICARE (e.g. Veterans): The GET is generally not passed on and physicians pay for this expense themselves. 

No other state taxes healthcare in this way. 

3) Hospitals are exempt from the GET but patients and private practice doctors/clinics are not exempt. Why don’t patients and small private practices get a tax break??? 

4) Hawaii is short 820+ Physicians even before the COVID19 pandemic according to the 2020 Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment Project.  The shortage is critical and most severe on Neighbor Islands.  The Big Island shortage is 44%.  Maui and Kauai shortages are similar and rising.

5) The COVID19 pandemic forced private practice doctors to close their practices or go into early retirement, further worsening the shortage. The Big Island already lost 26 doctors in the pandemic. 

6) Hawaii has the lowest rate of doctors accepting Medicare in the Nation. The Medicare reimbursement rates for Hawaii is among the lowest in the Nation even before the GET. However, with Hawaii’s GE Tax, Hawaii’s reimbursement for Medicare is conclusively the lowest in the Nation, contributing significantly to the low number of Medicare providers in the State of Hawaii.

7) Hawai’i has the second oldest physician workforce in the U.S.  A third of practicing doctors on the Big Island are past retirement age. Hawai’i also has the fewest young doctors in the country. Young doctors won't come/come back to work in Hawaii. Recruitment and retention of physicians are a problem. The GET exacerbates the recruitment and retention problem particularly for Medicaid and Medicare providers

8) Hawaii Legislatures aim to market Hawaii as "the safest place on earth" for tourism due to lower COVID19 infection rates, but the current healthcare work force argues against this claim.

***Please sign this petition to support Senator Baker’s SB Bill 2542 to eliminate the General Excise Tax for medical services for all healthcare. 

**Say NO to taxing patients for getting sick or injured.**

**Help to increase Medicaid and Medicare providers for Hawaii.**

**Rebuild Hawaii's healthcare work force through the COVID19 pandemic**

We thank Senator Baker for her advocacy and tireless support to address Hawaii’s healthcare workforce shortage through changing legislation. 

- Hawaii Physician Shortage Crisis Task Force

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!