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American Diabetes Association urges governor to address the needs of diabetics

Red heart shape and medical stethoscope on blue background top view. Health care, medicare and cardiology concept.
(STOCK)

The CEO of the American Diabetes Association today sent a letter to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) on behalf of the approximately 2 million state residents living with diabetes and pre-diabetes. The letter calls for Governor Ivey to immediately address the vulnerable situation that people living with diabetes may find themselves in as unemployment skyrockets and healthcare coverage disappears.

Tracey D. Brown is the CEO of the American Diabetes Association.

Chairman Brown is urging the governors of all 50 states to immediately eliminate the burden by zeroing out the co-pay for life-saving insulin and to ensure continuous healthcare coverage for the states’ residents living with diabetes during this emergency.

“On behalf of the 115 million Americans living with diabetes and prediabetes, thank you for your ongoing work to address the coronavirus pandemic,” Brown wrote. “As you no doubt understand, this unprecedented public health crisis poses a unique and significant threat to Americans with diabetes, both from a health perspective due to the impact of diabetes on our immunity, and from an economic perspective given the large numbers of lower-income Americans who live with diabetes and who are trying to balance the high cost of medication and supplies against potential job loss, reduced work hours, and future income uncertainty.”

“Unfortunately, as people in the state lose their jobs, many are also without health insurance,” Brown continued. “This is especially problematic for Americans living with diabetes who could now potentially face significant out-of-pocket costs obtaining prescription medications and supplies, including insulin, and who already are among the most vulnerable to the pandemic due to their compromised immunity.”

“Approximately 7 million Americans with diabetes rely on insulin to live,” Brown said. “Yet the cost of insulin has skyrocketed, nearly tripling between 2002 and 2013. A national survey conducted by the American Diabetes Association found that nearly a quarter of all insulin users were impacted by the high cost of insulin, with many reporting rationing insulin due to cost. Not taking the prescribed amount of insulin places people with diabetes in jeopardy of serious and life-threatening health complications, and may make us more vulnerable to the coronavirus, adding to the burden of the pandemic on the state while compromising our health further.”

Swift action must be taken to make this life-sustaining medication affordable so we can keep people with diabetes healthy and out of ERs and hospitals at a time when these facilities are coping with a rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 patients. To address these challenges, we urge you to:

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Brown is asking the governor to eliminate cost-sharing for insulin in state-regulated health insurance plans during the COVID-19 crisis and government forced economic shutdown.

Brown is also asking that the governors ensure Americans living with diabetes who lose their job due to the COVID-19 hysteria and government forced economic shutdown have continuous access to health insurance, including by potentially automatically enrolling these patients into Medicaid, prohibiting the removal of people from Medicaid and state-regulated health insurance plans if they fail to pay or are late in paying premiums, temporarily waiving documentation requirements for continued Medicaid eligibility, expanding special enrollment periods in your state throughout the declared state of emergency, and other available means.

“We stand ready to support your efforts to take these bold, yet urgent steps to protect the state from further fallout of the pandemic and blunt the impact on Americans in your state who live with diabetes,” Brown concluded. “We appreciate in advance your efforts to stand with us, on behalf of Americans living with diabetes, who face extraordinary vulnerabilities and challenges during this crisis.”

As of press time, 85,709 Americans have been confirmed as having COVID-19 and 1,305 of them have already died and 2,122 are in serious or critical condition. The coronavirus global pandemic and the forced economic shutdown to fight the pandemic continues to negatively impact Americans and has already cost millions of people their jobs.

 

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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