LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Monday, September 10, 2007

All the news that’s fit to read

So I’m having a wonderful evening. It is cool tonight so I’ve fired up the porch heater. I’m smoking my pipe, sipping water, and gazing out into the inky darkness. It is pitch black tonight, I can’t tell the horizon from the sky. The only lights as far as the eye can see are the little string that run across one side of my back deck; plus the dim glow of soft light coming through the sliding glass doors into the kitchen.

The only sounds are crickets and the distant ruckus of Deb trying to give Rio a bath. I’m relaxing and getting my mind ready for the day ahead when I recall that I forgot to read my AP News summaries on Yahoo this morning.

I debate with myself. The calm evening… or keeping in touch with the world… when I realize I can have my cake and eat it too! I nip inside to fetch my laptop. I surf wirelessly while I chill out mentally, basking under the warmth of the propane fire.

I click on links that catch my fancy, read more, then return to the main page. Then something disturbing catches my eye. The headline is “Some companies penalize for health risks.”

I click through from the summary to the main article. My blood pressure begins to rise as I scan the article. Apparently many companies are now starting to charge more for company health insurance if employees have health risks.

We need no further proof that the basic human right of health care is only given to those that won’t use it. Bastards.

It seems that many companies are now tying the cost of your employee health insurance to your BMI (Body Mass Index), or your blood pressure, or your cholesterol.


So the same SOBs who won’t cover weight loss drugs to help overweight people get healthy now charge more for being fat? That makes sense in a perverted kinda of modern American way, doesn’t it?

To add insult to injury, many in healthcare (including me) regard BMI as bogus. It does not take into account either frame type or muscle mass. Probably some poor weight lifter out there somewhere will have to pay more for his health insurance ‘cause his BMI is not “good enough.”

Luckily, no hint yet of the chill that went down my spine. So if they can get away with charging a premium for weight or BP, how long until they start singling out people with chronic conditions?

I guess it is a darker night than I realized.


Blogger Marina Martin said...

I'm a T1 (13 years now) and I have to vehemently disagree that healthcare is a basic human right. I also absolutely think that people who cost more (people who are overweight, or have high BP/cholesterol, or who have chronic conditions) should pay more.

Who do you think pays for healthcare costs? Our tax dollars. Maybe if health insurance acted like true insurance, only covering catastrophes, and we had to pay for our own medical costs out of pocket, people would take better care of themselves. I'm not interested in subsidizing my neighbor who can't be bothered to exercise or eat right.

(And for the record, I am self-employed, paying for my own insurance, and ultimately most of my own insulin pump and CGMS supplies. I am not wealthy. But once I started running every morning and eating really healthy, my insulin needs dropped to 25% of what they were previously and I now barely use a bottle of Novolog a month, which translates into significant savings for me. If you don't incur those costs yourself, the incentive to take better care of yourself diminishes.)

10:26 PM  
Blogger Kelsey said...

I am also outraged that healthcare is a big business in the U.S., instead of viewed as a basic human right. Here, in the richest country in the world, it's a tragedy that people have to go without medical care because they cannot afford it.

That said, I wanted to agree with your comment on the BMI issue. I was recently lectured about my prepregnancy weight by a dietician who based her entire argument on the BMI, without taking into account my body type or muscle mass. I always use my husband as an example, he's 5'8'' and about 160-165 pounds and incredibly muscular. According to BMI, he's borderline obese!! When I tell people this (who know my husband) they laugh and instantly get how crazy that index is. My husband is an avid runner, weight lifter, etc., he's absolutely the picture of health.

It would be completely unjust to base medical fees on someone's BMI score.

9:51 AM  

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