Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Not Tumors, but Rumors

[I just sent this to Snopes.com. I hope it gets in.]

I have seen the following making the rounds on Facebook as of today. Please do not post it, especially if you don't live in Australia:

"I would like to highlight the government removing the subsidy for blood test strips. Diabetics need very frequent blood testing 5+ times a day. The cost of 100 strips is $70-$90. Outcome: reduced blood glucose testing and more hospital admissions from hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic (high blood sugar or low blood sugar) reactions... I am asking if everyone could put this as their status for 1 hour. I'm pretty sure I know the ones that will. Think of someone you know or love who has or has had diabetes. My hope is that in 2016 a cure will be found. Will you post it for 1 hour? To honor those who have fought or are fighting diabetes.😁. Hope to see it as yourstatus. Copy and paste, don't share.

This is posted as if it were about the United States' government. Our government does not subsidize diabetic testing supplies per se. Further, the post appears to be based on a misrepresentation of a change in policy of the part of the Australian national health system related to diabetes, the National Diabetes Services Scheme  (NDSS).

Patients on insulin are the ones who may routinely need to check their blood sugars multiple times a day. The NDSS is not changing the subsidy for patients who need insulin. Patients with noninsulin-dependent-diabetes-mellitus (NIDDM) do not all need to check their blood sugars. The NDSS would allow patients with NIDDM to get the subsidy at the recommendation of their physician. (For the policy, see here: https://www.ndss.com.au/important-changes-to-the-ndss and here: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/news/15223?type=articles).

This is substantially more generous than in the United States, and, arguably, makes clinical and financial sense.

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