In Canada the economy is in a mess. All levels of government seem to have an incredible debt load. They are constantly in the media looking for ways to save money. They are asking people where they feel that they can make cuts.
I have also been reading posts about adults with diabetes who are having to pay for their own syringes and strips. There are stories of young adults asking why they are paying for needles that keep them alive when drug addicts are getting needles to keep them high for free. There are conversations about seniors who have no coverage at all or are given one box of test strips to cover them for an entire year. My heart breaks for these people. I am terrified for their health. I seriously wonder what governments have been thinking for all of these years.
I have been at this diabetes advocacy thing for many, many years now. Back when I was first gathering information on the cost of insulin pump therapy versus the savings, I learned about the high cost of complications. I quickly understood however, that the government of now is not interested in the worries of the government of tomorrow. They were not interested in paying for pumps and quality care today to save on dialysis tomorrow. They wanted to not pay for dialysis today. This shortsightedness has led us to where we are today.
I am not sure what the cost of a hospital stay is currently but the Toronto Star put it at $7000 per visit in 2008.
According to Diabetes Depot, for $7000 you can purchase…
- 61 5x3mL cartridges of Lantus
- 50 5x3ml cartridges of Levemir
- 206 10ml vials of Novorapid
- 215 10ml vials of Humalog
- boxes of 100 Lifescan glucometer strips
- 184 boxes of 100 per box BD Ultrafine II Insulin Syringes 1/2cc 30 gauge
- 116 boxes of Animas insulin cartridges
- 37 boxes of Paradigm Quick-set infusion sets
- 22boxes of 5 per box Enlite Glucose sensors
- One insulin pump (which is guaranteed for 4-5 year)
So for every time a person with diabetes goes to the hospital–and my old research said that on average a person with diabetes may go into the hospital for an emergency three times per year if they were not well-managed, the government could have bought them syringes, or insulin, or strips, or all of the above and saved money.
If a person was hospitalized TWICE per year, based on my calculation last year, the government could have paid for a sensor augmented pump AND all of its supplies for the year for the same amount.
Sadly provinces are not covering sensor augmented pumps. Many provinces are not covering pumps for adults. There are provinces not covering insulin, syringes or test strips for people living with diabetes. That worries me greatly.
It worries me that people are not able to properly take care of themselves. It worries me that governments are looking for ways to cut costs without looking at the bigger picture. I have sat at pre-budget consultation tables. I have asked and have heard others ask for governments to invest in keeping people healthy today so that we don’t have to pay much larger bills tomorrow.
I don’t know when they will truly begin to listen. I will continue to suggest as I know many others of you will as well, that they look at preventative measures over short term cuts. In the meantime, I will be saddened and worried for those who struggle to afford proper medical care and treatment. I will also be motivated by them as well.
Together we will one day see real change for all of our sakes.