While it may be difficult to keep track of the latest arguments, counterpoints and changes to healthcare reform legislation, American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) believes there are certain core issues central to the care of those affected by or at risk for diabetes.
Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes and an additional 86 million adults are at risk of developing the disease. By 2050, it is estimated that one out of every three Americans will have diabetes. The annual cost of this public health emergency has skyrocketed to $322 billion.
Because of this, access to high-quality and affordable health care and health coverage is essential for individuals affected by or at risk for diabetes so they can effectively manage their disease; reduce their risk for severe and costly complications; and improve their quality of life.
While health-care policy and reform are a complex equation with multiple stakeholders and perspectives, we believe it is important to highlight and encourage members to advocate for this issue.
The AADE believes that any healthcare reform legislation must contain three over-arching principles:
- Reforms must maintain and build on the health-care access gains achieved in the last eight years.
- Proposals must ensure affordability, particularly for people with chronic diseases like diabetes who are considered “high utilizers” of health care.
- Reforms must support high-quality care and guarantee coverage of a comprehensive set of essential health services which people with diabetes require to manage their disease
In addition to these over-arching principles, AADE believes that any healthcare reform legislation must contain these specific provisions:
Preserve elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions
In the past, people with diabetes and other chronic diseases could be discriminated against based on their disease. The AADE strongly urges that any healthcare reform plan under consideration preserve the elimination of preexisting condition exclusions.
Maintain dependent coverage to age 26
Young adults with diabetes have benefited from the non-controversial provision included in current law which allows dependents under the age of 26 to remain on their parent’s health insurance plan. The AADE strongly urges that this provision be continued in any healthcare reform plan.
Unprecedented investments have been made in the prevention of diseases like diabetes. As a result, millions of Americans have access to prediabetes/diabetes screening and evidence-based diabetes prevention programs. Ensuring access to proven screenings and preventive services and including robust funding for prevention and public health initiatives must be a component of any health reform plan.
Prohibit discrimination in plan design
The AADE strongly believes health plans should not make coverage decisions, determine reimbursement rates, establish incentive programs, or design benefits in ways that discriminate against individuals because of their age, disability, expected length of life, etc. AADE urges that any healthcare reform plan under consideration ensure that health plans are not allowed to discriminate through benefit design or through other factors, including but not limited to those mentioned above.
AADE believes that these principles can unite all who believe in helping people with diabetes through diabetes education and prevention.
We encourage members to read and assess healthcare reform proposals as they evolve during the House and Senate debates and to actively reach out and share your perspective with your elected federal legislators.
Your voice is important to those with and at risk for diabetes.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact AADE Director of Federal and State Advocacy Kurt Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org