I’ve asked folks to get involved in discussing situations that need to be addressed and breakthroughs contributing to a world that works for everyone by Jan. 1, 2023.
Retired MSN Sally Soffa from Bellingham writes in on a matter that universal medicare would address:
Sally Soffa, MSN, CRNP
I’m a Nurse Practitioner with a background in Endocrinology.
Steve talks about the scarcity of food, but another scarcity we face here in the United States, is affordable healthcare and medications.
Type I Diabetes, known as Juvenile Diabetes in children, but it can, and does, strike at any age. Although diet and treatment in a growing child is a bit different then for an adult. It is now thought to be an autoimmune disease, with the theory being that a virus settled in the pancreas destroying the beta cells that produce insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates our blood sugar, and without it we cannot survive. Unless you are lucky enough to have an insulin pump, it is treated with two types of insulin.
A basal insulin controls the baseline blood sugar, and a short or rapid acting insulin treats the carbohydrates you consume in food. If your insurance covers an insulin pump, then only a rapid acting insulin is needed.
Type I Diabetes is an expensive disease, not only in the treatment to regulate blood sugar, which can involve emergency treatment for high, or low, blood sugar, but then the complications that can arise later.
And, unfortunately, even well controlled diabetics can, and do, develop complications. Those initial complications are blindness, kidney failure, and diabetic neuropathy.
In the United States, the cost of insulin has increased by 1200% since 1996. Here is a basic monthly expense if paying out of pocket for a Type I Diabetic.
Insulin vials are a little cheaper, but also breakable and harder to manage.
Yes, there are a couple insulins available at Walmart, that are cheap, but they are also very unreliable as to how they work.
– Basal insulin: $400, this is for a box of five insulin pens. Many people require two or three boxes.
– Rapid acting insulin: $542 for a box of five pens. Many require two or three boxes.
– Insulin pen needles: $26 for a box of 90. They need 120 per month.
– Glucose test strips: $ 87 for a box of 100. They need at least four daily, and ideally 8-10.
– Glucose meter: $30, but good for a couple years.
– Glucagon: $146, necessary for severe low blood sugars.
– Ketone test strips: $8, needed for checking urine ketones.
This list doesn’t mention regular office visits, blood work, and diabetic education, and is so very important for the patient and their families. It costs several hundred dollars, and is often not covered by insurance.
If a patient has insurance, there are co-pays, and deductibles to deal with. What medications and supplies are covered by insurance? And what medications are formulary this year, usually change the next.
With advances in technology, we now have insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and insulin pens. But all require good insurance coverage.
Type I Diabetes is a very expensive disease, and control is so very important, especially in the first ten years of diagnosis. So, besides Universal Basic Income, we also need Universal Basic Healthcare, for all.
Universal medicare for all by Jan. 1, 2023