Tom Daschle: Prevent Diabetes, Cut Costs

Tom Daschle: Prevent Diabetes, Cut Costs

10.13.11 | By Kate Connors

Former Senator Tom Daschle penned an op-ed in today's Roll Call about how preventing type 2 diabetes can help to control health care costs. It's an interesting commentary about how a potentially avoidable illness contributes to a more than $200 billion economic burden each year, leading to other health conditions, such as heart disease or kidney failure, along with issues such as hospitalizations and amputations.
What the op-ed doesn't include is that not only is diabetes preventable, as Daschle notes, but it is also treatable. A study by Medco found that annual costs for diabetes can be up to 48 percent lower for patients who take their diabetes medicines properly. That study found that average yearly combined pharmacy and medical costs for patients who were not adherent to evidence-based treatment protocols was $8,867, compared to $4,570 for patients adherent to their treatment regimens. On average, each diabetes patient not properly adhering to recommended therapy increased health care costs by as much as $2,200 per year.
Unfortunately, as this slide shows, not only is diabetes prevalent in the U.S., but for many patients, it is not well-controlled - in fact, in many, it remains undiagnosed, allowing patients to become even more severely ill.
Senator Daschle's column serves as another reminder that in a time when we're tightening our collective belts on healthcare spending, we don't have to sacrifice our health.

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