Healthcare Reform

People with T1D need access to affordable health insurance that covers the care necessary to treat their diabetes. To survive, they rely on daily supplies of insulin and the tools required to dose this life-saving medication.

Healthcare Principles

JDRF has released a set of healthcare principles and is working with a variety of stakeholders to advocate that these principles are considered in any healthcare reform that may take place in 2017. This includes:

  • Preserving protections for those with pre-existing conditions so they have access to complex health insurance at rates similar to people without such conditions. Under the current law, there are provisions to ensure that people with preexisting conditions—like the 1.25 million Americans who live with T1D—cannot be denied coverage, charged significantly higher premiums or have their benefits curtailed by insurance. This is crucial for people with T1D who need health insurance coverage to access the drugs and devices that keep them alive every day.
  • Allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26. Current health law allows young adults to join or remain on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26. Remaining on a parent’s plan is crucial to children and young adults with diabetes who have much greater healthcare expenditures, approximately 2.3 times higher, than their peers without diabetes. The provision, which ensures these young people have consistent and affordable access to supplies and medications necessary to manage their disease, continues to have broad bipartisan support.
  • Prohibiting insurance companies from setting annual and lifetime dollar limits for essential health benefits (EHBs). Before passage of the ACA, insurance companies were able to set dollar limits—either annually or for the entire enrollment period—on spending for an individual’s covered benefits. For people with chronic illness, annual and lifetime caps on EHBs can present a wide array of problems and worry. Consider insulin, a prescription medication, to which daily access is essential for people with T1D to stay alive.
  • Closing the coverage gap in most Medicare prescription drug plans by 2020. These plans have a temporary coverage gap for drugs, or “donut hole,” during which people with T1D may not be able to afford their prescription medications. The current healthcare law reduces these expenditures for approximately 200,000 to 300,000 people with T1D enrolled in Medicare.

Taking Action

  • September 2017 – JDRF issued an action alert to mobilize advocates nationwide to voice their concerns about the Graham-Cassidy proposal to their senators.
  • September 2017 – JDRF released a statement with 15 other patient and provider groups opposing the proposal put forward by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). This proposal would negatively impact patients’ access to adequate and affordable health coverage and care.
  • July 2017 – JDRF convened more than 160 Delegates from across the country at the JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress. Delegates met with their Members of Congress, asking them to support the renewal of the Special Diabetes Program, robust funding for the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and to preserve our health reform principles.
  • June 2017 – JDRF issued an action alert engaging its grassroots network to contact their senators urging them to craft legislation that would uphold our key health reform principles.
  • May 2017 – JDRF released a statement after the House bill passage expressing disappointment in the bill’s passage and urging the T1D community to contact the Senate to make their voices heard.
  • May 2017 – JDRF signed a letter with nine other organizations and released a statement opposing the American Health Care Act (AHCA) with the MacArthur amendment, which weakens protections for pre-existing conditions.
  • March 2017 – JDRF joined with major nonpartisan patient groups to push for access.
  • December 2016 – JDRF joined with more than 70 organizations to send a letter to then President-elect Trump and Congressional leadership explaining the importance of policies protecting those with pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health plan.