More than 1.25 million Americans live with type 1 diabetes (T1D), and this number continues to grow. They need insulin several times a day, every day, just to survive. It cannot be emphasized enough that type 1 diabetes is fatal without insulin. A person with T1D cannot just stop taking insulin, whether they can afford it or not.
Considering the life-saving nature of this drug, insulin should be affordable and accessible to all those who need it. However, federal data as well as multiple studies show that the cost of insulin has tripled, even quadrupled, in recent years.
At JDRF, we believe that insulin should be affordable and accessible to all who need this life-saving medication. We are working diligently on the Advocacy and Health Policy fronts to address the larger issues around access and affordability of T1D treatments and technology.
Jesse Bushman, JDRF’s Senior Director of Health Policy has been working in health policy in the Washington DC area for 23 years, including positions on Capitol Hill, with the Medicare and Medicaid agency, the trade association representing most of the nation’s insurers and a major biopharmaceutical manufacturer.
For him, JDRF is a great combination of detail oriented discussion of policy meant to drive systemic change and consistent opportunities to help specific people. “I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping individual JDRF volunteers navigate complicated insurance problems. Sometimes that happens during a Type One Nation (TON) Summit meeting, but more often than not, people who are experiencing a lot of frustration call our office and we’re able to help them out. That makes all the effort to review these complex materials worthwhile and it helps us understand, on an emotional level, how difficult it can be to negotiate the healthcare system. At the end of the day, it’s this human connection that matters most for me.”
Jesse’s focus is on ensuring that insurance companies and large self-insured employers adequately cover the basics. “We focus on making sure that insulin is reasonably priced, that people with T1D can choose the devices they want to use and that their expenses are stable and predictable through the year. We have to interact with a lot of stakeholders to get this work done. Everyone who has helped us in any way, by volunteering, participating in email campaigns, making in-person introductions, putting us in touch with their HR department or providing us examples of real-life stories have played a huge role. It really is a team effort and we couldn’t do it without all your support and participation. If you have played even a small role in making your voice heard, you are a T1D Champion.”
Visit JDRF Advocacy to learn more about how JDRF Advocates help build and sustain critical support for type 1 diabetes research funded by the Federal Government by raising awareness among Members of Congress of the financial, medical and emotional costs of the disease.
The time to take action is now, Become a JDRF Advocate and Join Today.