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Dr. Bill's Commentaries

Polling People With Diabetes about the New United States Health Insurance Law   (April 19, 2010)

When the new US health insurance law was being debated, national polls clearly indicated a substantial split of opinion about whether the law would be helpful or not. For instance, a CNN poll conducted on March 19-21, 2010, asked 1,030 Americans the following question: "As you may know, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are trying to pass final legislation that would make major changes in the country's health care system. Based on what you have read or heard about that legislation, do you generally favor it or generally oppose it?" They found that 39% favored, 59% opposed, and only 2% had no opinion.

But what about the effect of the legislation on people with diabetes? Two major diabetes organizations, the ADA and the JDRF, are clearly in favor of health reform.

The American Diabetes Association came out with a press release on March 31 2010 praising the legislation: "With the passage of health reform 'just because you have diabetes' will no longer be a lawful excuse to deny coverage, to charge exorbitant rates, or to take away care just when a person with diabetes needs it most."

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation had a similar opinion: "JDRF supports efforts to reform the healthcare system and applauds Congress and the Administration for prioritizing such efforts. Diabetes places a tremendous burden on the nation's economy and the quality of life for individuals with the disease..."

To date, I haven't seen any polls of people with diabetes asking their opinion. So, not to be outdone by CNN, I therefore wrote a poll [Editor's Note: This poll is no longer on-line] that's diabetes-specific: "Will the new United States health insurance law help people in the US who have diabetes?" with the reader's choices being simply:

* Yes, considerably.
* Yes, but only a bit.
* Don't know.
* No.

I must admit that I am quite bemused by the responses thus far. I sort of thought that the responses would be overwhelmingly in one category or another, but to date, the responses are all over the place, including a substantial percentage (28% as of today) who don't know. So far, I really don't have anywhere near enough responses to make any sort of statistical claim about meaningfulness.

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Dr. Bill Quick began writing at HealthCentral's diabetes website in November, 2006. These essays are reproduced at D-is-for-Diabetes with the permission of HealthCentral.

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