Just a heads up: I am accompanying a dear friend of mine to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, March 9, for a discussion with Rhode Island Senators Whitehouse and Reed on Type I diabetes, more commonly known as juvenile diabetes. This conference is sponsored by JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), an amazing organization that is the lifeline for a brighter future for childhood diabetics. If you think our present health care system (or lack thereof) is detrimental to sick , insured people, you should monitor the “abuse” these companies dish out to chronically ill folks who need ongoing care.
Insulin is not a cure for diabetes, merely but thankfully just a sufficient treatment. Nevertheless, The JDRF’s work to find a cure is vital. Diabetics eventually can develop heart, vascular and eye complications that are often life-threatening. It is imperative to work on the answer to this disease. Yes, it costs a lot of money to search for a cure and care for diabetics. However, if money is the bottom line, especially to public policy makers, the costs of heart disease, limb amputations, blindness and retinopathy are so much more costly, not to mention heartbreaking. Diabetes is a devastating disease. While diabetes can be managed with insulin, thereby saving lives, make no bones about it: many people die from this disease. We need a cure because the long-term effects of diabetes is a killer.
The insulin pump has been a vital development in aiding some people with diabetes to live a “normal” life. Oftentimes, their disease just can not be regulated any other way. So the sympathetic, devil-may-care-for-any-contractual-agreements with their policy holders, insurance companies agree to cover the cost of one part of the pump but not another. This makes the use of the pump unaffordable and the patients’ lives miserable. As if their practice of declining coverage to their customers, once they get sick, is not enough of a slap in the face. Then, even if they do cover a disease like Type I diabetes, they will pay for the pump but not for the infusion supplies, thereby making the use of the life-saving pump just a pie-in-the-sky dream for the patient. You know the old adage: they give with one hand and take back with the other.
Even our President is finally speaking out publicly about the abuses carried out by the insurance industry. A few days ago, Goldman Sachs put many health insurers on their “buy” list, mainly because their rates are increasing annually by over 30% and there is no competition within their industry to temper these huge rate increases: silly Goldman Sachs —- the resulting windfall profits will just go right into the executives pockets. The insurance companies have just as much disdain for their shareholders as they do for their policy holders:
Today, President Obama used that report to add fire and brimstone to his appeal for our legislature to pass the health bill:
Of course what we really need is a viable public option. In the absence of that, oversight and regulation, plus a repeal of the health insurance industry’s monopoly, would do. Good luck.
At any rate, I have been sufficiently vetted to enter the Capitol and attend the meeting. All of you better keep everything crossed that I do not bump into Senator Mitch McConnell in those hallowed halls. If I should run into him, all bets are off for rational behavior on my part and you will probably see me on the evening news. But I keep repeating the lessons of the Little Engine That Could, who said, “I think I can, I think I can.” I am repeating to myself “I will behave, I will behave.”
I shall report back to you on Tuesday or Wednesday.