INDIANAPOLIS — The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on all of us, but the American Diabetes Association says certain groups are hit especially hard.
That's why the ADA is taking a stand, creating a Health Equity Bill of Rights.
The statistics are shocking.
Exactly 122 million Americans are living with diabetes and prediabetes, and those people are at higher risk for developing complications if they contract COVID-19.
Plus, diabetes is the most expensive chronic health condition in the U.S. One in four insulin-dependent people ration their insulin due to financial hardships. The American Diabetes Association says no matter your race, income, zip code, or education field — you should have some basic health rights.
Tracey Brown is the CEO of the ADA and is living with diabetes. She says COVID-19 and the racial unrest in our country have shined a really bright light on this issue.
"People don't really understand a lot of the facts and the stats," Brown said. "We hope people become more aware, but awareness is just one piece of this, we want to arm people to then take action."
Here are the ten items on the ADA's Bill of Rights
1. The right to access insulin and other drugs affordably.
People with diabetes account for $1 of every $4 spent on health care in our country, and growing numbers cannot afford the medications they need to survive. One in four insulin-dependent people with diabetes say they ration their insulin.
2. The right to healthy food.
Diabetes rates are inversely related to income level, and nutrition is critical to diabetes prevention and management.
3. The right to insurance that covers diabetes management and future cures.
Diabetes is the most expensive chronic condition in the U.S., and people with diabetes incur medical costs nearly two and a half times higher than others. Costs skyrocket for Americans who have diabetes but who do not have insurance – they are hospitalized nearly 170% as often, compounding their risk for complications and leaving them medically worse off than if they sought care earlier. 4. The right not to face stigma or discrimination.
Even though Americans with diabetes are legally protected against discrimination at work and school, the diabetes community still faces many barriers to equal treatment. Every American with diabetes should be able to live and work free of discrimination and stigma.
5. The right to avoid preventable amputations.
Every 4 minutes in America, a limb is amputated due to diabetes – and most are avoidable. The risk of amputation rises among communities of color; African Americans suffer diabetes-related amputations more than twice as often as whites.
6. The right to participate in clinical trials without fear.
Drugs and treatments utilized for diabetes care should be created with the diverse populations that use them and the unique risks they face in mind.
7. The right to stop prediabetes from becoming diabetes.
Diabetes care should not start at diagnosis – it should begin long before. Even though prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes are often preventable, low-income, minority, and historically underserved communities still see the highest incidence.
8. The right to a built environment that does not raise the risk of getting diabetes.
Historically underserved communities not only see the highest diabetes rates, but also face the greatest barriers to safe places to live and exercise, to clean air, and clean water – the things that mitigate diabetes onset and related risks for others.
9. The right to the latest medical advances.
Medical technologies like continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, and artificial pancreases can be instrumental in treating and managing diabetes. Still, many people with diabetes in the lowest income brackets do not have the same access to these life-saving technologies as do higher-income peers.
10. The right to have your voice heard. In our new post-COVID reality, things as simple as visiting family, going to the grocery store, or even leaving your home can pose a grave danger for people with diabetes and others facing a heightened threat during this pandemic.
Those looking for more resources on the Health Equity Bill of Rights should visit diabetes.org.