Online poll: 19.78% of those questioned believe the state will pay for their diabetes treatment in the future

by Barbara Hewitt on December 13, 2012

Should the state pay for your diabetes treatment?

If there is one medical condition which should be grabbing headlines on a worldwide basis it has to be diabetes, both diabetes type I and diabetes type II, but for some reason it does not appear to be grabbing the headlines of the mainstream news channels. This is a subject that has been brought to the attention the masses, both the worldwide population and worldwide governments, via such renowned bodies such as the World Health Organisation. So why is nobody taking any notice at the moment?

In many ways diabetes is the sleeping epidemic which is slowly but surely creeping up on many of the worldwide population. It is a condition which can change your life, can impact your health if left untreated and ultimately for some people it can lead to death. We recently ran an online poll at the DiabetesForum.com asking people who they think will pay for their diabetes treatment in the future. There were some very interesting comments and some very interesting thoughts which we will break down into the various options which were the state, private health cover, myself and any other. However, in this article we will look at those who believe that the state will pay for their future treatment.

Diabetes worldwide

The likelihood is that the vast majority of us have already seen the astounding figures issued by the World Health Organisation in relation to diabetes and the ongoing problems. At this moment in time it is estimated that in excess of 350 million people on a worldwide basis are already suffering from diabetes and many of these have yet to be diagnosed. The data with regards to fatalities is somewhat out of date and the last report which we can confidently quote from, by the World Health Organisation, is from back in 2004 and estimated that 3.4 million people died as a consequence of high blood pressure alone in that year.

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A recent report also suggested that by 2030 diabetes will be the seventh largest killer in the world although some sceptics believe even this figure is somewhat optimistic. There is every chance that diabetes could become one of the top three killers around the globe over the next 20 years or so. Indeed it is expected that there will be a 50% increase in the number of deaths directly related to diabetes over the next decade, one in three Americans will develop the condition over the next 30 years and it will become more prevalent around the world.

Should the state pay for your diabetes treatment?

Should the state pay for your diabetes treatment? (Click for full size graph)

We asked the question, who do you think will pay for your diabetes treatment in the future, and 19.78% of those who took part in the online poll believe that the state will pay. There are various sides to this particular coin because not all governments around the world have a national health care service such as the NHS in the UK and indeed the contribution of governments round the world does vary from country to country.

The idea that the state should cover your treatment in the future, assuming that you have diabetes or you develop diabetes, does not seem to be unreasonable when you bear in mind the amount of income governments around the world receive from taxpayers. However, there is real concern that many governments around the world are not in a position to cover the future expected cost of diabetes treatment and, if this is the case, where would the funding come from in the future?

Suggesting that the state should pay for your diabetes treatment in the future does not seem outlandish but interestingly this particular answer came third in our online poll behind myself and private health cover. It seems the vast majority of people are more realistic than optimistic about this particular subject?

US (22.22%)

It was interesting to see that 22.22% of those who took part in our online poll, based in the US, believe that the state should cover the cost of future diabetes treatment. This comes at a time, as we suggested above, that by 2050 it is expected that one in three adults in the US will have diabetes. Indeed the latest detailed statistics with regards to medical costs in the US reveal that diabetes treatment cost the US government $116 billion in excess medical expenditure with the overall cost of diabetes, including lost productivity, etc, coming in at a staggering $174 billion per year.

While this figure will surprise many, we need to appreciate that this actually refers to 2007 and the figure will be significantly larger today and is set to grow fairly quickly in the future.

India (6.67%)

While the subject of diabetes may be a relatively new matter for many of the Indian population the truth is that it is a major problem and is set to get very much worse before the government will regain control. Despite the fact that the Indian authorities have recently promised a national screening programme to pinpoint those suffering from diabetes this will take some time to filter through and many of those who will be tested will already have developed the condition or be at a pre-diabetes stage.

Current estimates suggest there are 61 million diabetics in India and this will top the 100 million mark by 2030. At this moment in time diabetes treatment accounts for around $2.2 billion in health care costs although this is dwarfed by the estimated $237 billion loss in national income due to diabetes and associated conditions. India is one of the leading powerhouses of the world, its economy is strong, the employment market is very agile and flexible but this increase in relative wealth across the country has offered a perfect breeding ground for diabetes.

UK (25.00%)

It is interesting to see that 25% of the UK population believe that the state should cover their future diabetes treatment costs and again, as we suggested above, this does not seem unreasonable when you bear in mind the amount of income generated from UK taxpayers. However, the cost of treating diabetics in the UK will increase from the current £9.8 billion per annum to as much as £16.9 billion per annum by 2035. The overall cost of diabetes, including treatment and lost working days, is set to rise from £23.7 billion to around £39.8 billion by 2036.

There are many who believe that the UK NHS is not in a position to fund such an increase in the cost of diabetes treatment in the future. There are many who believe that the NHS could face bankruptcy because of the ever-growing cost of treating diabetics. The UK government has been aware of this for some time and while progress has been made with regards to treatments and potential cures the cost of diabetes treatment is set to rise significantly in the short, medium and longer term. This is perhaps one of the major financial issues facing the UK authorities at a time of austerity and prudence.

Australia (33.33%)

The problem of diabetes is also very evident in Australia where around 1.7 million people have been diagnosed with type II diabetes (accounting for around 90% of the overall diabetic figure) and this figure is expected to increase to around 3.3 million by 2031. At this moment in time the cost of treating diabetes is just over $1.1 billion although again there are other costs associated with loss of productivity, care costs and obesity which when all added together total in excess of $10 billion per annum.

Even though the Austrian economy has been performing admirably during this very difficult worldwide economic downturn there is no doubt that plans will need to be made to ensure that all diabetics in Australia receive the relevant treatment. Like so many governments around the world, the Australian authorities do not yet appear to have grasped the nettle of the diabetes epidemic and there are serious concerns about the government’s ability to fulfil obligations to the Australian population. There are very few of the Australian population in a position to cover the costs of their own diabetes treatment and indeed even the private health cover option is too expensive for many.

Conclusion

When you take into account the cost of diabetes associated with the UK, India, Australia and the United States of America it is not difficult to see why many people believe this will be a major challenge for governments as well as those suffering from the condition. The figures from the World Health Organisation do not make good reading suggesting that the number of diabetics around the world will increase dramatically over the next 30 years, deaths attributable to diabetes will increase by 50% over the next decade and the condition will become the seventh largest killer in the world by 2030.

Those who expect the state to cover the costs of their diabetes treatment in the future, whether they have been diagnosed as yet or not, accounted for 19.78% of the overall vote. While many people hope that the state will cover the cost of their medical treatment in the future it seems that the vast majority are realistic with myself and private health cover more realistic options.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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