Type 1 Diabetes and Congress’s To-Do List


Recently, Congress has been getting a lot of attention for how hard its members are supposedly working. They’re staying in Saturdays to discuss the health care bill; they’re debating the troop surge in Afghanistan. Every day in the life of a Senator or Representative is filled with Very Important Business, these reports make it seem, keeping long hours to do what is just and right.

Okay, fine. I’m sure that there are politicians who are genuinely committed to what they think would be best for the country. But have you ever checked out the agenda for what a day in the life of a representative is actually like? Perhaps you have; perhaps this is old news. But I just got a google update saying that there was a bill pending in the House for more funding for Type 1 research, and when I clicked on the link, I was very surprised — and amused — by what else was on their to-do list.

Here’s the part about diabetes: “H.Res. 35 – Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Congress should provide increased Federal funding for continued type 1 diabetes research (Rep. Gene Green – Energy and Commerce)”

But here are some other things on the agenda:

H.R. 3951 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2000 Louisiana Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana, as the “Roy Rondeno, Sr. Post Office Building” (Rep. Cao – Oversight and Government Reform) [N.b. This is not to be confused with H.R. 4017 – which would designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 43 Maple Avenue in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, as the “Ann Marie Blute Post Office.”]

H.Res. 940 – Recognizing and honoring the National Guard on the occasion of its 373rd anniversary (Rep. Latta – Armed Services)

H.Con.Res. 213 – Expressing the sense of Congress for and solidarity with the people of El Salvador as they persevere through the aftermath of torrential rains which caused devastating flooding and deadly mudslides (Rep. Mack – Foreign Affairs)

Okay, fine. It’s nice to give support to the people of El Salvador as they persevere through the aftermath of torrential rains. But how, exactly, does that play out in Congress? Do they burst into a round of applause?  Take a moment to (metaphorically) raise the El Salvadorian roof? If I were from El Salvador, I’d be less interested in Congress’s moral support and more interested in money. Likewise, with Type 1 Diabetes, what does it mean for the House of Representatives to express its sense that it should increase funding for Type 1 research? Do they all put on JDRF bracelets for an hour before lunch? I’d personally prefer a little less “expressing” and a little more “funding.”

Also, looking at the list of items on their agenda makes me want to try to insert one of my own, just to get it through. For example: “H.Res 922 – Recognizing and honoring the fact that Catherine Price is awesome. (Rep. Price – Citizen Oversight Committee)” Nancy Pelosi seems pretty busy these days — I doubt she’d even notice.

Two other things: speaking of Congress, I’ve been trying my best to keep up with the health care fight and am very confused about an important part of the legislation: its effect on people with pre-existing conditions. I know that under both the House and Senate versions of the bill, insurance companies wouldn’t be able to deny coverage to people based on pre-existing conditions like diabetes. But does anyone know whether there’s a limit on what kinds of premiums they could charge? I ask b/c I remember reading something about how older people’s premiums can’t be more than maybe triple (I’m forgetting the exact multiplier) than younger people — but I don’t remember reading anything similar about people with pre-existing conditions, and I haven’t gotten to slog through the whole 2,000+ page bill yet. (It’s  totally on my to-do list — right after I reread my high school calculus textbook.) If I were an insurance company and were forced to cover, say, me, I would charge a shit ton of money. I’m just saying.

And lastly, a message to my Humalog: If you are “fast-acting” and are supposedly out of my body 3-4 hours after I take you, then why, oh why, do you continue to give me lows when I exercise five hours after lunch? You know what I’m talking about: remember that water-based potato-leek soup I ate for lunch yesterday? Yes, I know it had potatoes. But I took Symlin and bolused. And then my blood sugar went to 180 and spent the rest of the afternoon slowly, slowly coming down, till I went to a kickboxing class five hours after lunch and it dropped so quickly that I had to leave class to get a Gatorade. Why, Humalog, do you linger so? Don’t you know that it’s rude to overstay your welcome?

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[…] -Yesterday I wrote a bit about Congress and the effects the proposed health care legislation might have on people with diabetes (still no word on whether there’d be a limit on premiums for people with preexisting conditions — does anyone know whether that’s addressed?). I should say straight off that I am very ambivalent about the proposed plans and am far from supportive of any of the current versions being debated. But, with that said, I thought this column by Robert Steinback in the St. Petersburg Times was interesting. He writes about the cost of living with Type 1… Read more »

13 years ago

My favorite part is that the bill was introduced a full year ago!   According to the text ( http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.RES.35: ), looks like they’re trying to fund type 1 research through the NIH: —————————— Whereas the National Institutes of Health devoted a total of $433,000,000 in fiscal year 2009 for type 1 diabetes research; and Whereas leading type 1 diabetes researchers have recommended a total funding level of $4,100,000,000 for fiscal years 2009 through 2013 in order to meet the National Institutes of Health’s type 1 research goals: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That Federal funding for diabetes research should… Read more »

Jessica Apple
13 years ago

Catherine Price, you are awesome!
While pregnant, I had the same problem with my fast-acting insulin.  It was totally putting in overtime.

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