Online Poll: 54.94% believe that they will pay for their own diabetes treatment in the future

by Barbara Hewitt on December 27, 2012

Online Poll: 54.94% believe that they will pay for their own diabetes treatment in the future

The subject of diabetes is never too far away from the headlines and as we move into 2013 this will be a problem that more and more people will face. There has been intense speculation with regards to the consequences of the ever-growing number of diabetics around the world and how much this will cost governments and individuals. We therefore thought it would be interesting to ask those at the diabetesforum.com who they think will pay for their diabetes treatment in the future.

Before we look at the individual results for the UK, US, India and Australia it is worth refreshing our memories with regards to the problems which we face.

Diabetes

The World Health Organisation has been warning for many years now that diabetes is a major problem which governments around the world will have to tackle sooner rather than later. One of the major problems is the fact that an investment today may not bring about any significant return for many years and this is difficult to sell in the political spectrum at least in the short term. There is growing concern about underinvestment by various governments around the world although the knock-on effect which diabetes can have on the economy, healthcare costs and other elements of everyday life are starting to take their toll.

There are literally hundreds of millions of people around the world who have been diagnosed with diabetes and there are many more that are living with this potentially fatal condition blissfully unaware. The cost of diabetes treatment continues to grow and there is intense speculation that institutions such as the UK NHS could well be “bankrupted” by the ever-growing cost of diabetes today and in the future.

Against this backdrop we thought it would be interesting to gather the opinions of those on the diabetesforum.com where we posed the question, who do you think will pay for your diabetes treatment in the future?

Myself (54.94%)

Online Poll: 54.94% believe that they will pay for their own diabetes treatment in the future

The vast majority of those who took part in our online poll believe that they themselves will need to cover the cost of their diabetes treatment in the future. There is no distinction, within this answer, with regards to how they will cover the cost of their diabetes, whether this is through personal insurance, additional tax payments or any other financial arrangement. So is there really any escape from having to cover the cost of your own diabetes treatment in the future?

Taxes

While many of us pay taxes without necessarily thinking where the money is spent there is growing speculation that additional taxes to cover the cost of diabetes treatment will be introduced. So-called “fat taxes” have been rumoured for many years now and it seems almost inevitable that one government will break ranks and the rest will follow. Then again, do we need to ask ourselves where our taxes go today and why we should pay additional taxes for a condition which is treatable?

Insurance

If you had mentioned 10 or 20 years ago the potential to insure yourself against the cost of diabetes treatment in the future the vast majority of people would have ignored you. However, the situation has changed dramatically over the last decade and for many people the only real way to cover the cost of diabetes treatment in the future will be to take out some form of insurance. This will play into the hands of the insurance companies many of whom will delve into your family background and assess your chances of developing diabetes and calculate your premiums accordingly.

This will not be cheap for those with a history of diabetes in the family!

Direct costs

The likelihood is that the ability to pay your diabetes costs on an ongoing basis will be out of the reach of many people. While there may be ways and means of “jumping the queue” with regards to diabetes treatment and receiving the best medication available, again, this will not be cheap. One way or another it seems that the vast majority of people believe that they will effectively pay for their own diabetes treatment going forward whether this is by additional taxation, insurance policies or any other means by which governments around the world can extract more money from the population.

We will now take a look at the individual answers from the four main constituents of the online poll which were the United States, India, United Kingdom and Australia.

United States (57.41%)

A higher than average 57.41% of those who took part in our online poll and were based in the US believe that they will need to pay for their own diabetes treatment in the future. This is ironic in the days leading up to the so-called “fiscal cliff” which is headline news across America as the political parties continue to argue about the forthcoming budget. Healthcare takes of a significant amount of this budget and any major cuts will be felt across the board.

India (66.66%)

The very fact that in many areas of India there is no formal health service is causing concern across the Indian population. India is a country which is beginning to feel the backlash of diabetes and a significant amount of those who took part in the online poll, and are based in India, see no other option but to pay for their own treatment going forward. Again, this will not be an option which is available to everybody without any financial pain and could have an impact upon the economy, population and the prospects for India going forward.

United Kingdom (37.50%)

It will perhaps come as no surprise to learn that just 37.50% of those who took part in the poll, and are based the UK, believe that they will have to pay for their own diabetes treatment. Again, it is not clear whether those who took part in our online poll and voted “myself” believe that taxes and health insurance come into this class or whether indeed they are talking about physically handing over cash for treatment on an ongoing basis. Either way, it is still going to be very difficult for diabetics based in the UK because of the massive strain this is having upon the NHS and the healthcare budget going forward.

Australia (33.34%)

The Australian government has been fairly vocal over the last few months with regards to the threat of diabetes and has promised to increase funding for this particular issue. The vote in Australia was split fairly between the state, private health cover and myself which perhaps gives an indication of the confusion in the country. The Australian authorities, like so many around the world, have already been discussing the option of bringing in additional tax income streams to cover treatments such as diabetes and strengthen the national health care system.

Conclusion

It is interesting to see that many people seem to differentiate between the state covering the costs of diabetes treatment, which is effectively funded by taxes, health cover, which is funded by premiums and direct payment of diabetes treatment costs. The reality is that whether paying by tax, insurance premiums or directly to a healthcare institution the fact is that individuals around the world are indirectly or directly paying for treatment going forward.

One interesting element has been talk of additional tax income streams for various governments around the world which will be used to fund the treatment of specific conditions such as diabetes. However, when you bear in mind current direct taxation and indirect taxation, which takes away a significant part of each and every individual’s income, is this really fair?

Over the next few years we will likely see the introduction of new and innovative ways of tackling diabetes but whatever routes governments around the world take there will be additional costs involved. These costs will amount to billions upon billions of dollars and with diabetes expected to be in the top five killers around the world over the next 50 years, the treatment of diabetes will take away a significant slice of government incomes around the world.

We really are sitting on the edge of a the precipice with regards to health care expenditure in the future and a concerted effort by governments around the world is required sooner rather than later.


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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