Lots of people ask me if it's intimidating to speak with elected officials but I don't find the experience intimidating. The way I look at it, we’re actually their bosses. We elect them to that office. So, when I meet with them I view myself as a concerned constituent and a helpful resource of information for them on the topic of diabetes.
At last week's event I represented my home state of Minnesota with another passionate advocate who has type 2 diabetes. We also joined forces with South Dakota, so we attended meetings for both states.
We met with representatives from the offices of Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, John Thune, Mike Rounds and Representative Rick Nolan. We raised our voices on behalf of the more than 114 million Americans living with, or at risk, for diabetes. We were joined by more than 150 advocates from across the country.
In our meetings, we urged elected officials and their staffs to address the diabetes epidemic, currently the nation’s most costly disease according to the ADA’s newly released “Economics of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017” report. These costs include $237 billion in direct medical costs for diagnosed diabetes and $90 billion in reduced productivity.
The largest contributors to the cost of diabetes are higher use of prescription medications beyond diabetes medications ($71.2 billion), higher use of hospital inpatient services ($69.7 billion), medications and supplies to directly treat diabetes including insulin ($34.6 billion) and more office visits to physicians and other health providers ($30 billion).
In our meetings with representatives in Congress, we asked legislators to take the following actions:
Diabetes is a tough disease to live with. But by telling our story to elected officials and urging them to make diabetes a priority, we can improve our quality of life and get that much closer to a cure for this disease.
Will you join me in becoming a diabetes advocate?
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