Friday, November 14, 2008

Poll: Young people and coping with diabetes

Today I saw this article in the top headlines on Google:

Poll finds that yng diabetes patients have trouble coping

The article is about children and teens with type 1 diabetes, and how well they cope with their condition. Essentially, the poll found that half of young diabetics have "difficulty coping with diabetes," and many suffer from depression as a result.

Interestingly, a common complaint was that teachers and school faculty are not well educated on diabetes, let alone prepared for dealing with diabetic students. Since I have postulated before society's lack of education on diabetes has lead to many misunderstandings about diabetes, I am pretty sure I would agree if I had a diabetic child in school (or if I had become diabetic while I was still in school).

The article also advocates websites, blogs, and discussion boards as support for diabetic children and their parents — as long as they are legitimate resources, which the article defines as those being "monitored by health care professionals." However, I would also go a step further, to say that blogs and websites written by type 1 diabetics who are fairly positive about their diabetes should also be considered legitimate resources. Obviously someone like myself can't give professional medical advice, but I do think that our experiences with diabetes can be helpful to others and should be shared.

The biggest and most important thing that I think I could say to help other young type 1 diabetics cope is: Be proud of who you are. Having type 1 diabetes sets you apart from others, but it's not a difference to be ashamed of. In my opinion, it's a difference that will always encourage you to lead healthier, happier lives than your non-diabetic peers. And when you look at it that way, there's not really that much to be depressed about!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A president who will take care of health care

Of course by now you have probably already heard the news: Barack Obama won the election, becoming the nation's first African American president!

Of course, I'm excited for reasons other than his race or the election's historic significance (though those are great reasons to be excited). I'm excited also because diabetics and others with pre-existing conditions can now hope for equal access to quality health care.

Three cheers for Obama!

Monday, November 3, 2008

McCain's health care reform is not reform at all

The other day, this article ran in the Washington Post:

How They Would Change Health Care: McCain

This is an excellent, informative, and well-researched article that demonstrates the shortcomings of McCain's health care reform — the biggest problem being that it's not really reform at all.

The article talks about how McCain has acknowledged that his plan does absolutely nothing for people like us — diabetics and others with pre-existing conditions. His answer? State health care programs should provide care for them.

The article then goes on to show why this is not a good idea. First of all, these state health care programs — set up specifically to insure those the free-market insurance companies won't take — are losing money hand over fist. Turns out it's really expensive to insure just the people who require a lot of prescriptions and doctor's visits. But rather than requiring insurance companies to absorb them into the general population, which they make enough money off of to cover the costs of the "uninsurable" several times over, McCain wants the state governments to continue taking care of it.

Aren't Republicans supposed to be fiscally conservative??!

The article also points out that these programs are not working. They cost so much to maintain that some states are unable to take on any more members:

California's high-risk pool is so strapped that it put a limit on enrollment this year and lowered the maximum it would spend on anyone's treatment. Tennessee's pool has had to eliminate low-income subsidies for new members. Florida's pool has not let in anyone since 1991.

If these programs are already not making it, how are they supposed to be responsible for all of the nation's uninsurable?

Finally, the article points out how dissatisfied people are with these programs. They are expensive and they don't necessarily provide the same quality of health care as people with group plans or individual plans. Isn't the idea of health care reform to fix flaws like this in the system?

In contrast, Obama's health care reform is real reform. He would ensure that everyone had access to decent health care by making it harder (and more distasteful) for employers to skimp on health care, as well as by creating a fall-back plan for those who couldn't get health insurance from their employers.

Obama said in one of the debates that he believed access to health care was a right, not just a responsibility. I think we need someone in office with that attitude, which is why I am voting for change this election — and I hope you will too!