June 13, 2024

Opinion | It’s Time to ‘Build Back Best’ for Americans With Diabetes – MedPage Today

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On May 23, 2021, Joanna Buscemi, PhD, shared her perspective on diabetes mortality inequities and policy recommendations to address them. As part of MedPage Today’s review of the past year’s top events, Buscemi and Allyson Hughes, PhD, follow up with the latest based on the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA), which includes many policy changes related to diabetes.

The Biden a…….

On May 23, 2021, Joanna Buscemi, PhD, shared her perspective on diabetes mortality inequities and policy recommendations to address them. As part of MedPage Today’s review of the past year’s top events, Buscemi and Allyson Hughes, PhD, follow up with the latest based on the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA), which includes many policy changes related to diabetes.

The Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA) includes several provisions likely to benefit the health of Americans living with diabetes, offering health benefits above and beyond just diabetes care. First, the Act caps the price of the insulin copay at $35 for insured Americans. Second, the BBBA includes provisions for a large expansion of healthcare coverage that is expected to provide health insurance for an additional 4 million Americans. Finally, the BBBA expands nutrition assistance programs to address food insecurity and invests in parks and public transit initiatives that promote safe and convenient ways to be physically active. While the future of the BBBA now hangs in the balance since Sen. Joe Manchin (D.-W.Va.) announced he will not back it, any amended version of the bill or newly crafted social spending legislation should preserve these key health provisions and address other significant concerns that go unaddressed for people with diabetes, particularly those from minoritized groups.

It’s important to begin with an understanding of the limitations of the insulin copay cap. Although this copay cap may be helpful for many insured Americans, it does not cap the cost of the insulin itself. This means that without insurance, insulin prices remain the same — and will continue to exponentially increase over time. As a result, the cost remains difficult to manage for those who are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare and have competing financial priorities. Further, those with coverage will still be responsible for the full cost of the insulin if they are out of insulin but in a coverage gap. These policy limitations can lead to insulin rationing, which can be deadly. It may also leave many people with diabetes with no choice but to seek insulin on social media sites from donors or sellers.

True equity for people with diabetes would entail taking on the pharmaceutical companies to cap the cost of insulin itself so that it is affordable for Americans with or without healthcare coverage. Big Pharma continues to profit off the backs of people with diabetes and Congress must put an end to it once and for all. Capping the cost of this expensive, life-saving medication may also set a precedent and eventually benefit people with other diseases requiring high-cost medical treatment due to price gouging — such as people who need an EpiPen, have rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and/or other conditions.

Although the expansion of Medicaid and Medicare in the current version of …….

Source: https://www.medpagetoday.com/opinion/second-opinions/96460

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