Killing us softly…

NYTimes has a horror story about diabetes and how it creeps up on you and “eat(s) you alive,” as one doctor described it. In addition to being the leading cause of blindness and amputation, diabetes also affects the afflicted in a myriad other ways from head to toe — depression, sleep issues, stroke, dental and hearing problems, liver and kidney problems, *paralysis (!)* of the stomach, ulcers, and various sexual problems.

Cases of diabetes are growing — 8 percent of the US population had it in 2007. And by 2050, it could be 25%, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

I’m fixating on this for two reasons. 1) I’m genetically predisposed to diabetes; my father was diagnosed in his mid-40s. 2) Our insurance coverage trends make it very difficult for people to maintain and keep this perfectly treatable disease at bay.

As more people (not us, mind you) advocate for more stripped down health plans, devoid of disease maintenance, it creates all kinds of barriers to getting the meds and seeing the doctor — all necessities for a person with diabetes.

I’ll do a quick, shameless plug for our SB1522 here, which not only would organize the individual insurance market, but also establish minimum benefits — such as doctors, hospitals and preventive services. It’s one of the ways we could begin to tame the unruly individual insurance market, which has been rapidly degenerating over the past few years…. unless we want a nation of diabetic zombies by 2050.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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