It has been a busy week, so I am just getting around to responding to an article by Winthrop Quigley that appeared in the Albuquerque Journal earlier in the week. The headline was “Health Exchanges Faces Challenges.” Well, of course, I thought, the “exchange” concept is unproven, the software needed is extremely complex, and requires input from disparate parties from several different parties. View the exchange flow chart that appeared at the Washington Post’s blog site from Xerox below:
But no. Rather than outlining the very real difficulties with setting up these exchanges (and why that presents problems for the law itself), Quigley simply attacks the views on ObamaCare expressed by Dr. Deane Waldman and HSD Secretary Sidonie Squier, both of whom are on the exchange board (implying that they are the aforementioned “obstacles”). Sure, it is a challenging position to be in to assist in the implementation of a law that you have serious misgivings about (and Quigley could also have done a piece exploring those realities), but apparently he’d prefer to disparage those who have expressed concerns about the law.
For the record, RGF has serious concerns about exchanges (which indeed have received support of organizations like the Heritage Foundation). I wish Waldman and Squirer the best as they work to implement this law (I could not do what they are doing).
One Reply to “Quigley takes cheap-shots at ObamaCare opponents”
I wrote the following response to Mr. Quigley’s attack and submitted it to the Albuquerque Journal. They declined to print it.
“Personal attacks on the front page of the newspaper cannot be left unanswered, especially when they distort the facts and ignore the important news that should have been reported.
The 5/14/13 article by Win Quigley was titled “Health Exchange Faces Challenges” and indeed it does. Quigley attended the inaugural Board meetings of the newly formed New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX). He was disappointed by the “tedious decorum” and chastised me personally for failing to create fireworks.
The Board has six members appointed by a Democratic NM Legislature that is heavily Democratic. There are another six members who were appointed by our Republican Governor––Susana Martinez.
What Mr. Quigley should have reported, possibly in italics for emphasis, is what Mr. Quigley did NOT see or hear. There was no partisan bickering, name calling, or political maneuvering. What went on was the beginning of a process leading to a working health exchange.
The thirteen Board members were not Republican, Democrat, or Tea Party. They did not self-identify as liberal or conservative. They did not stand to the right or left of the aisle (in point of fact there was no aisle). There were and proudly are concerned “Americans” trying to improve the lives of their fellow New Mexicans.
What happened at the meetings on April 29 and 30 was possibly unexpected and certainly disappointing to Mr. Quigley. We started down a rocky road hoping to achieve a goal we all share. We seek to create a system in New Mexico where there is affordable health insurance that gives our fellow citizens access to health care.
Mr. Quigley brought up my previous characterization of IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board component of the ACA), when I wrote it was a Death Panel . Guigley called this “nonsense.” However, one look at the evidence shows that my assertion is true. Just look at what the model for IPAB and ACA––the British NHS––has done. That is what will happen here. But what does that have to do with the challenges faced by the NMHIX or the open meetings being held? Nothing.
Mr. Quigley sought to inject dissension and controversy (“fireworks”) where none exist. Whether in the past I supported ACA or opposed it––that is now irrelevant. ACA is the Law of the Land. If analysts worried over whether Health Exchanges could work, so what? Governor Martinez signed legislation enabling a State-based Health Exchange here. The Board’s challenge, our job as it were, is to make it work.
There are thirteen people on the NMHIX Board from diverse backgrounds with a wide array of skills and experience. We may even have different political positions, but I do not see that. I see a consensus of purpose. We are united in what we want to accomplish for our fellow New Mexicans: affordable insurance that provides access to care.
That is big news, the news that should have been reported. When the Board of NMHIX succeeds, Mr. Quigley, if you set up the fireworks, I will then gladly set them off.”
Deane Waldman MD MBA is a member of the RGF Board, as well as the recently constituted New Mexico Health Exchange Board. He is the author of Uproot US Healthcare as well as The Cancer In Healthcare (September 2013).