Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Diabetes costs you money... duh

I've learned a lot recently about how much diabetes costs to treat.  It really is staggering how many thousands of dollars more -- a year -- it costs to treat someone with diabetes versus someone without.  Now someone has come up with a figure that shows how much diabetes costs each person in the United States -- even if you don't have the disease.

What Diabetes Costs You, Even If You Don't Have The Disease

The study has found that the total costs of diabetes, including the cost of lost production from people who can't work -- or can't work as well -- because of the disease, amounts to about $1,000 per person per year.

Of course, this is a little misleading because it's not like you're going to have to shell out $1,000 this year just because I'm diabetic.  Most diabetics have health insurance that take care of their costs.  Of course, of those who rely on Medicare, your tax dollars pick up the bill.  But that may or may not amount to $1,000: Only 2.9 percent of your income funds Medicare, and of course that entire amount doesn't go toward treating diabetes.

No, what this article does is total up all the costs associated with diabetes -- including lost production -- no matter who actually pays them, and then divides it between the entire population of the United States.  So it's not entirely accurate to say diabetes costs everyone $1,000.

This is not to say that diabetes isn't a terrible, expensive disease that our country would be better off without.  Diabetes definitely increases our health care expenditures.  But if we eliminated diabetes today -- poof, gone! -- we wouldn't all have exactly $1,000 more in our pockets.

I understand that the article is intended to put the costs of diabetes into terms that little people can understand, but when doing that means misleading them, I think the gross total -- $322 billion -- is a much better number to bandy about.

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