The above link discusses how a pattern of maneuvers over the last few years have made meaningful reforms aimed at helping the people in care homes, into nothing more than increased payments to the care home facilities. Over the last few legislative sessions, the Hawaii Senate has overwhelmingly pushed for regulations and funding to be invested into programs that would oversee patient rights at care homes. However, the House has repeatedly done it’s very best to defeat or water down the legislation.
How can this happen? It is a very simple reason. The care providers lobby play a large role in getting various members of the House elected and later reelected. Many of the Representatives that come to the aid of the care providers are of Filipino ancestry and come from areas where care homes are prevalent and have a high concentration of Filipinos involved in the operations. This is not to place blame on a specific ethnic group. I am from a Filipino family but have witnessed this problem first hand. It is no surprise that Rep. Cabanilla (D.42) owns and operates various care homes and has been a strong ally of the care providers lobby.
What can we do? The easiest thing, yet the most effective thing is to contact your House Reps. Call them, email them, or write to them. Tell them that we need to focus on helping our elderly. We need to remember that our grandparents have been through so much in their lives, and that they deserve to be heard. Tell our politicians to remember that we are coming for them if they choose to serve business instead of families.
It’s time to stand up Hawaii!