“Diabetes advocacy is like diabetes care; both are long-term processes with no quick fixes,” says Christel Marchand Aprigliano, person with diabetes and cofounder of The Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC).
DPAC is an alliance of people with diabetes, caregivers, patient advocates, health professionals, disease organizations and companies working collaboratively to promote and support public policy initiatives to improve the health of people with diabetes. DPAC seeks to ensure the safety and quality of medications, devices, and services; and access to care for all 29 million Americans with diabetes, and keeps policy makers’ attention on people with diabetes.
As Congress prepares to vote on the GOP’s healthcare bill, which includes an amendment that jeopardizes the insurance coverage of people with diabetes, we talked to Christel about how DPAC is helping those who oppose the bill voice their concerns.
What about the proposed bill is problematic for people with diabetes?
The proposed bill, while claiming to protect those with pre-existing conditions, will allow states to ask the federal government for a “Limited Waiver,” which will do two things: states can choose their “essential benefits” protected under the ACA (i.e. emergency services, pregnancy, prescription drug coverage) and waive their community-rating rules. Those community-rating rules ensure that no one is charged more for insurance coverage based on pre-existing conditions. In addition, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will impact those with diabetes who are Medicaid recipients through denying Medicaid expansion.
ACA wasn’t and isn’t perfect, but the AHCA will strip the protections that people with diabetes need to stay healthy.
What steps is DPAC taking to bring attention to the problem?
Like President Trump says, health care is complicated. DPAC has worked to ensure our community understands the issues that impact us through articles and posts that cut through the “complicated” verbiage and explains the crux of the matter. We research, share news, and give easy ways to act and speak up to policy makers through our website, social media, and our newest tool: the DPAC app. The DPAC app is available in the iTunes and Google Play stores, allowing anyone who wants to help advocate for people with diabetes on the go. Anyone can call, tweet, email, and share news directly from the app.
What would you like to see in a health care bill?
Rather than repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, let’s fix what’s broken. For many, the lack of “affordable” health insurance plans offered is the one sticking point of this law. Insurance reform will need to be addressed. The protections for those with diabetes and other pre-existing conditions must remain intact, without the ability of states to waive these protections.