May 8, 2012

Study - Rationing May Not Be Right for Older Diabetes Patients

For older adults with diabetes, they will generally live long enough to benefit from interventions and research. A new University of Michigan Health System study of retirees showed substantial survival rates for middle age and older adults. Take that people in our nation’s capital, who are using the “R word”, or at least realize that those of us with diabetes are not the ones to euthanize in your attempts to salvage the failing economy. We have shown we live long enough to make interventions beneficial.

Yes, we know that you will set up studies and carefully select only participants near death to refute this study. We know that this will be the government response. At least this time, we have a study we can point to and not be ashamed to call you out. We know that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will start these studies; therefore, we will be watching.

It saddens me that it is necessary to have discussions along this line, but when one of your congressional members is determined to level the playing field and talking about the scarcity of resources, you know the talk is about rationing. When someone asked if he was talking about government rationing, the meeting ended quite abruptly. This should be on everyone's agenda this election year, to ask these questions. Unfortunately, this senator has two more years on his term so the discussion will have to wait. In the meantime, many of us will have to figure out how we may oppose this senator when his term is up for reelection.

While this study is showing positive outcomes for people with diabetes and for those of us with diabetes that the battle can be favorable if we work for it. We still need to be aware that our elected representatives may continue the make it more difficult to obtain the medications and testing supplies necessary because of the costs in our flailing economy. While money is the scarce resource, our congressional people will continue to use the “R Word”, not for the money, but for the medical necessities we as people with diabetes will need in our daily battle with diabetes.

Take time to read this study and then speak up to your congress people and ask them about how they view the “R word” (rationing). Unless they are aware we are watching their actions, they may vote for something we cannot support. Or, they may give the green light to CMS and NIH for actions we may find unconscionable.

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