The Joint Labor Committee, minus Senator Charlie Scott, met December 7th and 8th in Cheyenne to discuss various health care issues and proposed legislation. Once again, committee members, and program cheerleaders and critics sat through another Healthy Frontiers update. We heard the usual litany: the project currently serves 79 people; we think there are more who may be interested; the size of the pool is too small to be statistically significant; data on health outcomes is difficult to obtain; and only some people are paying their premiums. In short, there was nothing new to report. Unfortunately, this kind of update is as good as we can expect.
There is no data to support success of the Healthy Frontiers Medicaid expansion program because no one captures the data to prove that positive results exist between treatments and outcomes.
No one can capture the data because no codes exist to quantify, for example whether: going to a primary care physician decreased emergency room visits by 0-1 per month or 2-3 per month; or someone diagnosed as obese lost 40-50 pounds and maintained that loss for 0-3 months or 3-6 months; or even telephone calls from the wellness coach, a nurse living in Tuscan, at 2-3 or 4-5 per month increased medication compliance.
So what then, does Healthy Frontiers actually accomplish?
We were foolish to ever expect positive results because this “pilot program” is nothing more than Medicaid expansion. Government-run health programs do not produce healthy habits, lower the cost of health care or create affordable insurance. It is time to recognize this and pull the plug on Healthy Frontiers.