Editorial: Expand Healthcare Compare, applauding The PASEO

Posted 9/19/18

Recently, the New Mexico Department of Health launched a website called NM Healthcare Compare. It lists nine procedures and compares the price 44 hospitals in the state, including Taos, bill Medicaid …

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Editorial: Expand Healthcare Compare, applauding The PASEO

Posted

Recently, the New Mexico Department of Health launched a website called NM Healthcare Compare. It lists nine procedures and compares the prices of 44 hospitals in the state, including Taos, bill Medicaid for the services. The difference in prices can be hundreds to more than $1,000. The website also shows how patients have rated hospitals.

We hope lawmakers will see fit to pump money into expanding this excellent website. It is one of the most useful projects they could fund. It will help tens of thousands of New Mexicans compare their health care procedures between hospitals.

The website needs to be expanded to include more procedures and their costs, not only for Medicaid patients but for those on Medicare, individual and employer-provided insurance. Sad to say, but the costs of procedures varies widely depending on who is paying.

The nonprofit organization Think New Mexico launched the effort to get an all-payer claims database built back in 2014. More than a dozen other states, including Colorado and Utah, have such databases. States that have such transparent health care cost information available to the public have seen some of the prices for procedures decline as noted in a My Turn piece this week by Kristina Fisher, an associate director of Think New Mexico.

We know the state has a lot of needs, but considering all New Mexicans need health care and pay some of the highest health care prices in the nation, we think this is one excellent investment for state government.

"We hope readers will join us in urging lawmakers and gubernatorial and legislative candidates to support the creation of an All-Payer Claims Database to give all New Mexicans the tools they need to find the best health care for their families," Fisher writes.

We agree.

To see the nine procedures and how your hospital compares, go to nmhealthcarecompare.com.

To see what other states provide, see the All-Payer Claims Database Council at apcdcouncil.org.

Applauding The PASEO

The PASEO just finished its fifth year and what a stupendous event. Artists from across New Mexico and the country created an interactive extravaganza for two days.

Visitors could drum out a light display, listen to creation stories as pictures flashed inside a tepee, sing into being a landscape and wander through a gigantic tent-like "space" cloud filled with virtual reality displays. The art sites sprawled from Kit Carson Park to Parr Field down Civic Plaza Drive and over through Bent Street to the Taos Plaza. This was art that invited people to participate, wonder and exclaim as they explored the meaning of space--internal and external.

Best of all, it didn't cost a thing to experience the art, except patience to wait in lines outside some of the displays. In a town where many people struggle to make ends meet, this was the kind of event, such as arts festivals and Taos Plaza Live, that invites everyone to participate, regardless of age, background or income.

In an increasingly divisive time, this was the kind of event we needed to bring people together.

Our gratitude to the organizers, donors, artists and legion of volunteers that made it happen.

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