With the start of 2018 coming very soon, DPAC would like to take a look back at all we accomplished in 2017 with the help of our amazing advocates!
This year, DPAC advocates supported public policy initiatives to improve the health of people with diabetes.
- In March, advocates wrote to Congressional representatives to ask them to declare whether they would vote for or against the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which DPAC opposed. Advocates also shared their personal stories of how protections for people with pre-existing conditions that were introduced in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have made their lives easier.
- In April, DPAC advocates helped to drive California’s AB 447 (CGM for Medi-CAL patients) through the California Assembly and Senate. Advocates also Tweeted, called, and wrote to their representatives to tell them not to support the MacArthur amendment to the AHCA, which, among other things, would have allowed states to manipulate or get rid of the essential health benefits provided by the ACA.
- In May, advocates contacted their representatives through the DPAC app to tell them not to vote for the newer version of the AHCA.
- In June, DPAC stood with JDRF as they launched the #Coverage2Control campaign, which collected signatures in support of people with diabetes being able to choose which medical devices they and their doctors decide to use, regardless of their insurance’s preference. Also in June, advocates voiced their opposition to the Better Care and Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which would have repealed many ACA protections.
- In July, DPAC’s CEO gave expert witness testimony to the E&C health subcommittee on H.R. 3271 (Protecting Access to Diabetes Supply Act of 2017). See a recording of her testimony HERE. DPAC also sounded the alarm on the issue of Medicare beneficiaries not having access to blood glucose meters that are accurate through the mail order program. This problem is still ongoing, and you can send a letter asking why Medicare is only providing unsafe meters HERE.
- In August, DPAC’s CEO was invited to speak on Glucose Meter Accuracy at a Congressional Staff briefing.
- In September and October, advocates told Congress not to pass Graham-Cassidy healthcare plan, which would have stripped protections for people with diabetes.
- In November and December, DPAC advocates wrote letters, wrote Facebook messages, and Tweeted their Congressional representatives to encourage them to continue the Children’s Health Care Plan (CHIP) and the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) Reauthorization. CHIP has been funded through the end of March 2018, but a long-term funding solution still needs to be found. You can send a letter to your representative HERE to ask them to support CHIP.
- Advocates also wrote letters and made phone calls to get the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) to let Medicare beneficiaries who use the Dexcom CGM to view their blood sugars on a cell phone or tablet. Without being able to use a phone, Medicare beneficiaries cannot use the Dexcom G5, or use the ‘share’ and ‘follow’ features that allow a third party to view the beneficiary’s blood sugar and help if there is an emergency. CMS has still not reversed its decision, which endangers all beneficiaries who need to use this feature. Click HERE to read more about this issue and take action by calling your representative.
Throughout 2017, DPAC has published tips for advocates on how to contact their representatives, how to attend a town hall and get a representative’s attention, and how to use strategic thinking to get their representatives to see their point of view. Blog posts gave an insider look into Congressional politics by showing what cliques exist in Congress and helping advocates learn the ‘language of advocacy.’
DPAC also launched two exciting initiatives:
- The Affordable Insulin Project makes access to insulin more affordable to all. The website is designed to provide guides and worksheets for people impacted by diabetes to spark conversations with employers about their healthcare plan. Data included in the employee and employer guide presented statistics and compelling evidence of the benefits of exempting insulin from the deductible and changing the employer’s healthcare policy. In addition to the guides and worksheets, a list of all the patient assistance programs and copay cards is available. You can find more information on the Affordable Insulin Project HERE.
- DPAC also launched an app (download HERE or at http://letsw.in/-dpac) that allows anyone in the U.S. to call, tweet, email, or Facebook post policy makers on diabetes issues using their phones. The app makes advocacy easier for you!
We were proud to work with so many fantastic organizations this year: the College Diabetes Network, the National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council, JDRF, the T1D Exchange, Children with Diabetes, Diabetes Sisters, and Beyond Type 1.
Looking to the future, we are honored to announce our 2018 Board of Directors: Bruce Taylor, Chair; Stewart Perry, Vice Chair; Lawrence T. Smith, Treasurer; Alissa Heizler-Mendoza, Secretary; Neil Benchell, Patty Martin, Gary Puckrein, Christina Roth, and Michael Swearingen. To learn more about these inspiring volunteers, please read the announcement found HERE.
In 2018, DPAC will continue to advocate for many of the issues that were brought up in 2017, including CHIP and SDP reauthorization and smartphone CGM access to Medicare beneficiaries. We will also focus on the midterm elections and pushing support for the current federal bills impacting people with diabetes.
Thank you for supporting DPAC this year! We are proud of the work we have done this year and look forward to continuing to advocate for the diabetes community in 2018.