POLITICS IN THE BUFF: MY RESPONSE TO DR J DEANE WALDMAN, “YOU LIE!”
In his article in the American Thinker Dr J Deane Waldman, an associate fellow at the conservative think tank the Rio Grande Foundation makes a litany of pronouncements of failure about ObamaCare. The first concerns the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange or NMHIX where Dr Waldman states, “The NM HIX has extensive educational outreach activities as well as slick (and expensive) marketing programs in the several languages of our multicultural state. We have “boots on the ground” as navigators and in-person assisters as well as widely-distributed private insurance brokers with long-standing ties to their local communities. With all this and having already spent or committed well over 50 million dollars, the number of individual New Mexicans who have signed up for Obama’s health insurance is… 291.”
The problem with this revision of the fact, okay it’s a lie, is that New Mexico has a hybrid exchange system. NMHIX is designed to help small business owners and their employees find heath insurance coverage that is affordable and fits their needs. New Mexicans who wish to apply for coverage under the ACA will be using the healthcare.gov website until 31 December 2013. As of the most recent reports, this one from Albuquerque Business First, on 11 December 2013, gives accurate figures for the federal exchange singups as of 30 November 2013:
Nearly 1,000 New Mexicans have bought health plans through the federal insurance exchange, healthcare.gov, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday.
As of Nov. 30, 934 state residents had bought policies through the federal exchange, up from 172 as of Nov. 2, according to HHS figures.
At November’s end, 16,289 New Mexicans had applied for coverage on the federal exchange, and 8,539 had completed the applications. Of the people who had applied for coverage, 9,058 are eligible to enroll in an exchange plan, HHS said.
New Mexico runs its own insurance exchange for small businesses, but decided to let the feds run the exchange for individuals through the end of 2014. The federal exchange, healthcare.gov, was beset with problems during its first two months and people were unable to buy insurance.
At New Mexico’s small business, or SHOP exchange, 150 employees of small companies had bought insurance policies, according to the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange. A total of 1,295 small businesses had begun the application process to buy insurance for their employees, and 150 had completed the enrollment process.
So this begs a question. Where did Dr Waldman get his 291 figure from? The Koch Brothers? Out of his ass? No, on both accounts. Dr Waldman got that 291 figure from a report of an estimate of the number of people who may enroll in Colfax County, New Mexico posted at the Health Insurance Rate Review site run by the State of New Mexico. From that post [emphasis mine]:
The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange board has decided to spend nearly $7 million to enroll state residents in health plans offered on the exchange.
The exchange estimates that as many as 84,000 might enroll in exchange-based health plans in 2014. The enrollment and outreach effort will be conducted in all 33 counties and will involve up to 290 people who will be trained to help residents enroll.
But in some counties there won’t be many people to enroll.
In Harding County, for example, there could be 20 people to enroll in exchange health plans, according to the New Mexico Primary Care Association, the organization that won a $4.3 million contract to enroll residents in exchange-based health plans. According to the NMPCA, the county has 411 people between the ages of 16-64. The county’s total population was 704 in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In Colfax County, NMPCA estimates it will be able to get 291 people enrolled in exchange health plans. And in De Baca County, the estimate is 52 people.
The exchange board has also agreed to spend $1 million for chambers of commerce, universities and faith-based organizations to enroll residents though the exchange.
New Mexico has 345,794 residents aged 18 to 64 who don’t have health insurance, the NMPCA says. Of those, 187,674 earn more than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, potentially making them eligible to buy insurance through the exchange.
The exchange is funded with nearly $54 million in grants from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is supposed to be operational on Oct. 1.
Five insurance companies have been approved to sell policies on New Mexico’s exchange.
I doubt if Dr. J. Deane Waldman did not intentionally look for any number that he could use to deny any level of success for ObamaCare in New Mexico. I just wonder why it is so important for him to fabricate his data? It would have been obvious had he taken the number from Harding County where there may be only 20 people to sign up for ObamaCare. Everyone would have seen through his Betsy Mccaughey-like lie then. I am not the least bit concerned about saying that this health insurance initiative will be the enduring legacy for President Obama.
Qu’ul cuda praedex nihil!
Sarah Bloch, D.S.V.J., J.F., O.Q.H [Jur.]
Amici Bax Demvolu Comnu
Politics & Culture Wars Managing Editor
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