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Diabetes Blog Week – The Cost of a Chronic Illness

This week is Diabetes Blog Week which is in its 8th consecutive year. This is my second year participating.

Diabetes Blog Week was started by and is still instigated by fellow type 1 Karen Graffeo in Connecticut who blogs at Bitter-Sweet Diabetes.

“Karen created this annual week-long blog carnival as a way for multitudes of D-bloggers (now more than 100 participating each year!) to create an unprecedented sharing of perspectives on issues relating to our illness. You can learn more about this effort, and sign up yourself if interested, here.”

The Cost of a Chronic Illness

Insulin and other diabetes medications and supplies can be costly. In the US, insurance status and age (as in Medicare eligibility) can impact both the cost and coverage. So today, let’s discuss how cost impacts our diabetes care. Do you have advice to share? For those outside the US, is cost a concern? Are there other factors such as accessibility or education that cause barriers to your diabetes care? (This topic was inspired by suggestions from Rick and Jen.)

I’m one of the lucky ones. I was born in Ireland. I’ve lived there most of my life. But I’m not lucky because I live in the Gorgeous Green Kingdom. I’m lucky because 50 years ago a bunch of people who live with diabetes got together at a meeting and said that their mission was to provide free insulin for everyone living in Ireland who needed it. (Yes, we pay for it through our taxes but really, it’s free.) And two months later it happened.

Then in 1971 all other diabetes medication and supplies became free. This is why I am lucky.

I’ve been following the American coverage of the cost of insulin with a broken heart and feeling of helplessness. And I know that there are countries in the developing world where a vial of insulin is a number of days of walk away from the people that need it.

I did have difficulty accessing diabetes technology in the form of an insulin pump and a cgm and diabetes education is still difficult to access here but this seems so insignificant compared to not being able to afford or get your hands on insulin.

I read the book “Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle” over the Christmas holidays and it detailed those first few years where Insulin production was unstable and there wasn’t enough for everyone. Neither of the manufacturing companies couldn’t make it fast enough. Access to insulin was because there wasn’t any.

My diabetes doesn’t cost me anything but my time. This is sometimes a bit of a weight on my shoulders as my clinic appointments happen when I am supposed to be collecting my children from school. But it’s also a huge relief.

6 thoughts on “Diabetes Blog Week – The Cost of a Chronic Illness

    1. Thanks Mike! We still have the two tiered (did I spell that right?) here but there are plans afoot to become more like the NHS.

    1. Well it’s mostly soggy. We are actually having our Summer now – if you book a flight right now and get here in the next 24 hours you might catch it ;-D PS I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting on other peoples post yet but I will get to them. I’m really looking forward to reading them all!

  1. When I was writing this topic and trying to make sure it was relevant to people all over the world, I thought about out Global PODS and discussions about access to education. I think that is just as important as financial access, if not more important. Because the best medications and devices in the world can’t help you if you haven’t been taught how to use them.

    I think no country has perfected everything yet….

    1. Thanks Karen. That Global PODS discussion was on my mind the whole time I was writting this post and I agree with you that no country has it perfect. But I do feel that having the free meds and supplies and healthcare is something that we should never take for granted. I really don’t know how to express the upset I feel for what people are going through in the US.

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