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