Diabetes Advocates Paint the Statehouse Red

Apr 05, 2005, 01:00 ET from American Diabetes Association

    COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Clad in the American Diabetes
 Association's signature "Red Shirts," Diabetes Advocates from across Ohio
 gathered at the Statehouse today in support of legislation that will save
 money and lives in the state of Ohio.
     In meetings with their legislators, Advocates asked for cosponsorship of
 the Diabetes Cost Reduction Act (DCRA), introduced by Representative Michelle
 Schneider (R-36-Cincinnati) and Senator Jeffry Armbruster (R-13-Ridgeville).
 The DCRA (SB113/HB#TBD) will require state-regulated insurance companies to
 cover diabetes education, equipment and supplies for Ohioans who have
 diabetes. This legislation has been in front of the Ohio General Assembly for
 12 years.
     The DCRA provides for the minimal requirements to keep a person with
 diabetes alive, healthy, and free of deadly and costly complications. Diabetes
 education involves instruction on good nutrition, the importance of properly
 monitoring blood glucose levels, and administering of oral diabetes agents
 and/or insulin via syringe, insulin pump or other insulin delivery system.
 Examples of diabetes equipment are blood glucose monitors, insulin injector
 pens and insulin pumps. Diabetes supplies range from insulin, to blood glucose
 monitoring strips, to syringes.
     Today's activities follow a January 25, 2005 meeting between seven year-
 old Jessi Martin, of Williamsburg, and Governor Bob Taft's office.  Jessi
 delivered to the Governor 803 pleas from Ohio residents touched by diabetes.
 The letters from "faces of diabetes" in Ohio ask the governor to lift the
 moratorium he imposed in 2003 on health insurance mandates such as coverage
 for life sustaining insulin.  The Taft moratorium hinders the DCRA's progress,
 thereby driving up the cost of healthcare for all Ohio residents and
 endangering the lives of those with diabetes.
     Ohio is one of only four states in the country that do not have mandated
 health coverage for diabetes supplies and services for insured residents.
 Over 750,000 adults in Ohio, and approximately 1 in 4 children, have diabetes.
 About 100,000 people with diabetes in Ohio do not have their basic diabetes
 needs covered by their state regulated insurance carriers. This represents
 about $1 billion in out-of-pocket expenses each year for people with diabetes
 so that they may adequately care for their disease.
     "When it comes to diabetes in Ohio, the economic toll is only second to
 the cost in human lives," said Gina Gavlak, RN, a volunteer with American
 Diabetes Association's Cleveland Leadership Council. "As someone who has
 carefully balanced their diabetes with daily life for more than 24 years,
 nothing scares me more than the idea of not being able to afford the
 medications and supplies that keep me healthy enough to have a successful
 career and be a good mom to my children."
     Diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the United States, and more
 than a million people develop the disease each year.  Diabetes cost the
 country $132 billion in 2002; up from $98 billion in 1997, and despite
 aggressive research efforts, there remains no cure in sight.
     "Ohio is way behind the vast majority of the states when it comes to
 protecting the health and economic security of its residents," said R. Stewart
 Perry, Chair of the American Diabetes Association's National Advocacy
 Committee.  "It is time for the governor and the legislature to take a fresh
 look at the widespread benefits associated with passage of the DCRA and make
 access to a healthy life a reality for the more than 750,000 Ohioans living
 with diabetes."
     The American Diabetes Association is the nation's leading voluntary health
 organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. Our
 advocacy efforts include helping to combat discrimination against people with
 diabetes; advocating for the increase of federal diabetes research and
 programs; and improved access to, and quality of, healthcare for people with
 diabetes.  The Association's mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to
 improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Founded in 1940, the
 Association provides service to hundreds of communities across the country.
 For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-
 DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit http://www.diabetes.org. Information from
 both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

SOURCE American Diabetes Association