Honolulu, Hawaii
                                                     , 1999

                                   RE:  S.B. No. 780

Honorable Norman Mizuguchi
President of the Senate
Twentieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 1999
State of Hawaii


     Your Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, to which
was referred S.B. No. 780 entitled: 


begs leave to report as follows:
     The purpose of this measure is to require health insurance
coverage for medical foods and low-protein modified food products
for the treatment of inherited metabolic diseases.

     The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the
Department of Health, and ten individuals presented testimony in
support of this measure.  The Hawaii Chapter of the American
Academy of Pediatrics, the Hawaii Dietetic Association, and eight
individuals, though not present, submitted written testimony in
support of this measure.  The Hawaii Medical Service Association
and Kaiser Permanente presented testimony in opposition.

     Your Committee believes that mandating health insurance
benefits generally impacts costs to the health insurer and
ultimately to consumers.  However, in this case, your Committee
finds that the number of individuals affected is less than
twenty-five and this cost increase is minimal when compared to
the overall costs of health care.  Therefore, your Committee
believes that the costs related to this measure can be absorbed
by the risk pool and all affected individuals can be provided
with some degree of relief.  A 1998 study conducted by the
Auditor also reflects this.

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                                   STAND. COM. REP. NO. 310
                                   Page 2

     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your
Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection that is attached to
this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and
purpose of S.B. No. 780 and recommends that it pass Second
Reading and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

                                   Respectfully submitted on
                                   behalf of the members of the
                                   Committee on Commerce and
                                   Consumer Protection,

                                   BRIAN KANNO, Co-Chair

                                   BRIAN T. TANIGUCHI, Co-Chair

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