Friday, September 14, 2012

The NS NDP and Diabetes.

Something has been really getting under my skin lately in my province (Nova Scotia) and I know I am not alone.

Our provincial government has funded $600 million in restructuring/redeveloping/saving WHATEVER you want to call it a dying industry. Bowater Mersey and NewPage are pulp and paper manufacturers.

Look, I get it. I GET IT. The people who are working there are tax paying Nova Scotians. But you know what? They are qualified Nova Scotians who worked hard in their lives, they should be given the honour and dignity of receiving recognition and compensation for this and they should move on. This is what happens when industries die, people move on. See steel, coal mining etc. etc.

The thing is there are around (and this is only a guess) 1500 people living with Type One diabetes in Nova Scotia. Less than half of those people are on insulin pumps.

An insulin pump is NOT a cure for type one diabetes, but it makes life that much easier. It makes management of glucose levels easier, it makes exercising easier, it makes living a life like a human without diabetes almost manageable. YES a person with type one can live without an insulin pump, but it's not easy. And for me, my body does not react to long acting insulin any more. Do you know how much more complicated, and how many more injections that would be?

In the interest of full disclosure of what's peeving me off,  I will give you a breakdown of the costs of running an insulin pump:

The pump is $7000. Insurance will sometimes cover a portion of this. My insurance covered $2000 of that when I needed a new one in April. So I was stuck with a bill of $5000. Because the company I went with does interest free financing I pay $140 a month for 36 months to cover the additional cost.

Infusion sets are around $18 each (10 per box/per month). So that's $180 a month.

Reservoirs are around $15 each (10 per box per month). So that's $150 a month.

Insulin is somewhere around $65 a bottle. I go through 3 a month but that varies greatly. So that's $195.

Glucose tablets are around $10 a bottle and I go through one every two months. $5 a month.

Test strips are $80 for 100. I go through 10 a day. So 300 a month average (if I do not have a sick day). That's $240.

My total monthly diabetes costs: $910. That's $10,920 a year. I am one of the few very lucky folk who have diabetes supplies covered by insurance. I do pay some out of pocket but it is negligible in comparison to some. I have the strictest control over my blood sugar because I can financially afford to. The problem is, some Nova Scotians can't.

If the government pitched in what I pay for each Nova Scotian with type one diabetes, who was not funded by insurance, it would cost them approximately $16,380,000 a year. Of course that's assuming that each person desired the pump AND were not covered under private insurance, which we know isn't true.

Do you see what I am getting at here?$600 million could go a long way for this disease. More importantly it would prevent serious strain on the future health care system.

Type one diabetes IS NOT a lifestyle choice. It is NOT because the person is fat, lazy, ate too much sugar. Our bodies have SHUT part of itself down. It's the EXACT same thing if someones kidney stops working for no reason other than an auto immune response. When I was 6 my body attacked itself. There's no other answer, there's no cure. I can't just start exercising more, eating right and hope it goes away. It's the hand I have been dealt and it's the hand I will play.

What happens when someone can't do what I am doing (and obsessing over)? Diabetes is the NUMBER ONE cause of heart disease and stroke, kidney damage, neuropathy, retinopathy. It can take a toll on your body. When a person does not have the financial ability to take care of themselves it is PROOF that our health care system is FAILING.

The last provincial election Premiere Dexter promised to fund pumps for children under 18. This past November the Dexter government completely went back on its word. In fact when I questioned Maureen MacDonald about this last year, I got a shitty canned letter about how they are investing in Kidney dialysis machines.

Well gee, thanks you idiots. Now I know that when someones kidneys fail because they did not have access to health care like they were promised, they will have up to date dialysis machines.

There is absolutely zero comprehension of what diabetes is doing to our people in Nova Scotia. But you know what's worse? The government doesn't give a damn either.

1 comment:

  1. I have totally been wanting to write a post about this but the issue gets me so angry! We have pretty much the same issue going on in Manitoba right now. Although, the government did just approve a juvenile pump program, which is a great step in the right direction, but it's still not enough. I will most like be on injections for many years to come because I just can't afford the costs. My insurance provider only gives $250 towards a pump which is such a joke!! Hopefully many of our provinces start to see some changes soon!