On the heels of the Spare A Rose, Save a Child campaign, I’d like to ask for your help on another very important issue.
Sue Berger, also known as Sue from Pennsylvania over at Test Guess and Go, is on a quest. And her quest is one that speaks to me, because in a little over 13 years, I’ll be right where her husband is. I’ll be 65 in 2027, and that means I’ll be getting pushed off to the Medicare system here in the USA.
Why is that a concern? Well, among other things, being on Medicare means you can’t have a CGM anymore. Oh, if you have deep pockets, you can buy one outright. But Medicare will not pay for a CGM. Doesn’t matter if you have one prior to age 65. Doesn’t matter if you need a CGM due to hypoglycemic unawareness, or just because it might help you actually stay healthier. It won’t be approved by Medicare.
Sue is working hard to change that. Up to now, she’s carried on a nearly single-handed campaign to get Congress involved. And guess what? Congress is now involved! Representative Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) has introduced H.R. 3710: Medicare CGM Coverage Act. The resolution (H.R. stands for House Resolution) allows for coverage of continuous glucose monitoring systems if recommended by a doctor. In case your civics classes were decades ago like mine, the Act would have to pass the House, then get a majority vote in the Senate, without any changes to the Act. If the Senate approves changes to the Act, then it goes back to the House for another vote on the amended bill. If both houses of Congress finally agree on the final language, the Act goes to the President for his signature. So it might take a while, which is why your help is needed now to help get the ball rolling. Now.
As Sue mentioned in her post on this issue, a lot of the Diabetes Online Community has asked how they can help with her crusade. Well… here’s your chance. According to Sue, there are three things you can do to help get this wrong righted:
– The most effective step you can take is to ask your own Representative to cosponsor the bill. Good news! There is one co-sponsor so far, Representative Matthew Cartwright (D-PA). But we need many more!
– Call your Congressperson’s DC office and ask for the email address of your Congressperson’s Legislative Assistant for health issues.
– Email the Legislative Assistant the text of Shea-Porter’s Dear Colleague letter (available on Sue’s post), along with a personal note. That way they will understand why the issue is important to you, the constituent, and they will also have the Dear Colleague to show their boss so that he/she will know how to sign on.
As sue says, “The only way to fight Medicare’s denial of the CGM is to get the guideline changed. The best thing that we can do now is to let our voices be heard and join with Congresswoman Shea-Porter and her new cosponsor, Congressman Matthew Cartwright [D-PA17] in asking Congress to pass H.R. 3710, the Medicare CGM Coverage Act of 2014.”
This is a very important issue for me, because I’ll be in the Medicare system toward the end of the next decade. And if you live in the USA, you’ll be in the Medicare system at some point too.
At the beginning of this month, the DOC did a lot to help kids in developing countries get the insulin they need to survive. Let’s spend at least part of the second half of February fighting for those older Americans who, through no fault of their own, cannot get coverage for a CGM just because of their age.
To view Sue’s post at Test, Guess, and Go, click here.
The post also includes a sample letter you can send to your congressperson, and the Dear Colleague letter from Rep. Shea-Porter. She also has a kind of resource guide for bloggers to help with getting the word out.