Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One More Thing to Write your Congressman About

PalMD has pointed out yet another area of healthcare that is clearly lacking and potentially in need of intervention.

In order to know how much short-acting insulin to take, a diabetic has to insert a test strip into their glucometer, prick their finger with a small needle, and touch the drop of blood to the test strip. This is usually done (at least) on waking, before every meal, and at bedtime---at least four times per day. Thankfully, blood glucose monitors are quite inexpensive and last a long time. Test strips, however, are expensive and disposable. How expensive? Depending on the brand of meter being used, and how many times you need to test, $30-$200 per month. These strips are usually not covered by insurance.

To give a comparison, good medical treatment for coronary heart disease, which usually requires about four medications, costs around $16/month. Older forms of insulin are also rather inexpensive (but the newer ones are costly). Without insulin, diabetics die---fast. Without test strips, diabetics don't know how much insulin to use.

He's absolutely right--and this is an absurd situation. Why don't insurance companies generally pay for something that is at least as necessary as insulin itself? something about it! Write, using this link. Or perhaps this one. Do both. The first is for the House and the second the Senate.

Don't know what to say? Try starting with what Pal suggested:

Diabetes is a serious disease affecting more than 20 million Americans. Part of the treatment of diabetes is the regular testing of blood glucose levels. In order to do this, diabetics must purchase glucometer test strips, which cost around a dollar a piece, and are usually not covered by insurance. For diabetics, especially those who have financial difficulties, the cost of test strips, which can be up to hundreds of dollars per month, makes diabetic treatment impossible.

I respectfully request that you look into potential solutions for this very serious problem, and bring this to the attention of your colleagues.


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