We’ve been talking about how there are 3 ways to achieve remission of type 2 diabetes (gastric/duodenal bypass surgery, lap-band surgery, and lifestyle efforts), and governments can potentially save millions of dollars and lives by encouraging people with this disease to work with their health care providers to consider such treatments.
Everybody wins with “diabetes reversal” – patients, doctors, medical insurance companies, employers, taxpayers, the government, the next generation, society, etc.
Governments can promote diabetes remission in many ways. One way is specific calls to scientists and clinical researchers to focus more on diabetes remission research, and by reducing barriers to obtaining research dollars. Another way is to encourage the health care establishment to embrace lifestyle coaching for diabetes remission. This message would be particularly meaningful if the charge came from the Surgeon General and the President of the U.S.
Let’s talk about a particularly intriguing strategy to promote diabetes reversal on a grand scale: to share some of the savings with patients who achieve remission. Getting to remission means taking risks and making sacrifices.
Insurance companies and the government save money when patients with type 2 diabetes achieve remission. The savings result from reduced medication use, reduced hospitalizations and reduced rates of expensive medical complications. It is plausible that a Medicare patient who achieves remission via lifestyle changes or surgery saves the US government around $4,000 per year, compared to the costs of treating the diabetes the usual way, with gradually increasing doses of diabetes medications (80% take medication) and high rates of medical complications (more than 50% get expensive and devastating complications).
Let’s give half the savings back to those individuals who achieve remission! Everybody wins under this scenario. If we reward patients with cash for diabetes remission (as certified by a primary care provider according to some standard definition), then the diabetes remission rates would dramatically increase. Patients, doctors, medical insurance companies, employers, taxpayers, the government, the next generation and society would all benefit. Doing so could be as simple as creating a new kind of “tax break” for diabetes remission and maintenance of diabetes remission. For example, let’s say a tax savings of $2,000 for an initial remission, and $500 for remission maintenance in subsequent years.
There is no such thing as a perfect plan. If we wait until we have a perfect plan, then we will never act. In the meantime, millions of people who could get into remission do not know the option exists and may miss out on the opportunity to change their lives. We have the power to convert tragedy into victory and we’re not using it! Diabetes reversal methods will certainly improve in the next 5 to 10 years, but that is no reason to wait any longer.
My mission is to bring diabetes reversal to those who want it and need it, and I believe our time has come to act on a grand scale. I’m calling on President and Mrs. Obama, and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, and all the other leaders who can influence public health to heed my call for a new focus on diabetes remission on a national scale. In the words of our president: “Nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened unless somebody, somewhere stood up when it was hard; stood up when they were told – no you can’t, and said yes we can.” Well, I know we CAN conquer diabetes, and it’s time to take it to the next level!!
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