Politics and Diabetes (and why we need to educate ourselves on these issues so that we can advocate)

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Politics and Diabetes

I don’t typically talk politics, but there are some important issues that affect people with diabetes as we transition to a new president and cabinet. Two things (of many) that we, as parents of children with type 1 diabetes, need to keep an eye on are the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) and changes to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Please don’t forget that you have a voice and can contact the people who represent you in the house and senate and let them know how these issues affect your family. The health and wellness of our kids is a bipartisan issue. Let’s educate ourselves on these policies and the people who may enforce (or repeal) them so that we can advocate for our children.
Affordable Care Act
On the campaign trail Trump routinely said that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Rather than repealing, I personally think that the ACA, as written, was a starting point and should be revised and improved to make it better and better. Two parts of ACA that are monumentally important to our children with diabetes are the preexisting condition clause, which states that they cannot be denied coverage or services because of their preexisting condition, and the ability to stay on a parent’s insurance until they are 26 years old, an issue I feel is important because I don’t want lack of insurance to be a stress point for my child as she goes to college and lands her first job in her field (which we all know sometimes those first jobs have poor pay and benefits). Although he has said that he might keep these two parts, we need to keep a close eye on this to make sure that the parts that positively affect our children aren’t taken away.

The ultimate Q&A about health care under a Trump presidency (Washington Post)
Attorney General
When you hear about policy that affects “special education” children, you may not think it applies to your children with type 1 diabetes, but it does. The same laws that provide accommodations for children with special needs also apply to CWD’s including Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (AKA section 504). These are what are in place to make sure that our kids are getting the care they need in their school and accommodations to give them a leveled playing field. They are what ensures kids have an IEP and/or 504 plan to spell out what they need.

Would Special Education Rights Be Safe With Jeff Sessions As U.S. Attorney General? (Forbes)

Their concern grows from his past characterization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), passed in 1975 to ensure children with disabilities received the education they deserved as much as other students. In his statements, Sessions said the laws that protect and ensure education to special education students “may be the single most irritating problem for teachers throughout America today” and “very sincerely” suggested that accommodations for students with disabilities are “a big factor in accelerating the decline in civility and discipline in classrooms all over America.” (Forbes)


ASAN Statement on Proposed Nomination of Jeff Sessions (ASAN)

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network condemns the proposed nomination of Senator Jefferson Sessions III, a staunch opponent of civil liberties, as United States Attorney General. The Attorney General oversees the Department of Justice. This agency’s work could not be more vital to the disability community. The Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing countless laws protecting civil rights and voting rights. It protects the rights of people interacting with police and helps track and prosecute hate crimes. For the past several years, the Department of Justice has actively enforced the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Olmstead decision, resulting in increased community inclusion for disabled people across the country. But Senator Sessions has suggested increasing the segregation of disabled students in public schools, calling the inclusion of students with significant disabilities “the single most irritating problem for teachers throughout America today.” We have grave concerns that under Sessions, the Department of Justice would not protect the rights of disabled people and other marginalized populations…During the confirmation process, ASAN calls on Senators of both parties, as well as members of the public, to undertake a thorough investigation into Sessions’ long record of bigotry, ableism, racism and disdain for civil rights and to reject his nomination to the position of Attorney General. (ASAN)


Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE)

Free Appropriate Public Education for Students With Disabilities: Requirements Under Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (US Department of Education)

Health and Human Services
Insulin pricing (and the huge profits of pharma companies who produce insulin) is an issue at the forefront right now.

The possible secretary of health and human services Rep. Tom Price owns stock in Eli Lilly. It could be a conflict of interest if he has to make decisions on insulin pricing.

…his stock portfolio includes investments in pharmaceutical, medical device, and health insurance companies, the heart of the industries he would be overseeing as secretary. (PBS)

Investments by Trump’s HHS pick raise questions over conflict of interest (PBS)
More on Insulin Pricing

Eli Lilly Increased Profits at the Expense of People with Diabetes (D-Mom Blog post)

Eli Lilly’s revenue boosted by jacking up cost of insulin for diabetics (Marketwatch)

Keep an eye on Bernie Sanders who has been talking a lot about insulin pricing the past couple of months.

How Has the High Price of Insulin and Other Diabetes Medications Impacted You? (Tell Sanders your story)

Bernie Sanders wants the feds to investigate these drug companies for possible price collusion (Washington Post)

Why has the price of Humalog insulin gone up 700% in 20 years? It’s simple. The drug industry’s greed. pic.twitter.com/SUeSbsr2Ka

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 1, 2016

Medicare Coverage
AAA Diabetes ManagementAlthough I am not linking to specific articles today, I do want you to think about Medicare. There is talk of taking away Medicare. You might think that Medicare is for older people and doesn’t affect your child, but it does. Many insurance companies look to Medicare’s guidelines of coverage when determining what they will cover for their own policy holders. Getting devices like insulin pumps, CGM’s, and any diabetes technology and medicines coming down the pipeline covered by Medicare is important because of the trickle down effect. The Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015 would amend “title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to provide Medicare coverage of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices furnished to a CGM qualified individual. ”

The AAA’s of Diabetes Management: Available, Accessible, Affordable (D-Mom Blog post)

Closing Thoughts
I hope that you take the time to read these articles (there are plenty more out there!) and think about how public policy and politics affect access to insulin, the ability for your child to get a great public education, and the discrimination that they could face in the workforce as a person with diabetes. I truly believe that no matter who you voted for, these issues should be bipartisan issues and that we can’t passively sit by. We must speak up and we must hold firm. I hope that you empower yourself to be a great advocate, because a parent is always the best champion for their own child.
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