Advocating for Access for All in California

Access for All at CA State CapitolThree weeks ago I had the privilege to join representatives from Medtronic and Dexcom in Sacramento for a meeting of the California State Assembly Committee on Health. I spoke as a witness in favor of AB 447 which calls for funding of Continuous Glucose Monitors for anyone covered by MediCal.

Now that Medicare covers CGMs for seniors, there is a precedent that would allow for this type of coverage. As we all grapple with what “access” to healthcare means for all of us in the T1D community, as we watch in dismay and disbelief as Congress changes the Affordable Care Act, we must be mindful and vigilant about what happens to those who are underinsured or not insured at all. For some, this may be a temporary situation, and for others this might be a long-term predicament. But access to the best tools to manage their diabetes should be available to them just as it is to everyone else. Short-term health and peace of mind as well as long term health outcomes depend on technologies such as continuous glucose monitors.

The absurdity of seniors who have worked hard for decades to manage their diabetes, only to reach the age of 65 and have their CGMs denied by Medicare, was beyond belief. The entire type 1 community, young and old, celebrated the approval of CGM coverage by Medicare. California should follow suit– sooner rather than later–to make the same provisions available to those covered by Medical.

At the meeting on April 26th it was a rare moment of camaraderie between Dexcom and Medtronic as they came together to advocate for a common cause. Patients using both technologies spoke about the peace of mind and increased health that this technology provides them or their loved ones.

Berit Bagley, and adult with type 1 and RN, CDE spoke on behalf of adults with type 1 diabetes about the peace of mind having a CGM gives her when she drives her kids in the car, is working long hours, and is trying to manage her diabetes.

Speaking on behalf of my daughter and other parents of children with type 1 diabetes I spoke of the peace of mind that comes from having a child on a CGM, the hybrid closed loop pump it powers, or the remote access it provides.

Type 1 diabetes is hard enough. No parent of a child with type 1 and no adult should be denied the best technology available because of financial hardship.

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