No Clinical Need, No CGM For Me

Last week, the opposition pledged $80 million towards subsidising Continuous Glucose Monitoring technology if elected at the upcoming federal election in Australia. The pledge would subsidise Continuous Glucose Monitoring technology for people under the age of 21, in addition to those with a clinical need such as pregnancy or hypo unawareness.

It’s great to see a commitment from both sides, and hopefully these announcements will pave the way to access for the rest of us in the future. I am happy for those who may see a benefit should either successful political party honour their pledge. I congratulate those who have lobbied tirelessly for several years, even though it took a federal election for their efforts to finally be recognised by both major political parties.

The rest of this post, however, is completely selfish.

I am disappointed that I will miss out. Even though I’m not particularly interested in using a CGM, I still feel very much left out.

The political motives behind both of these announcements irk me. People have been lobbying tirelessly for several years to get Continuous Glucose Monitoring technology subsidised, and yet it takes a federal election for their efforts to finally be recognised. I’ve watched heartfelt current affairs segments, news pieces, and read social media posts over the last two years, with non committal responses all the while. Yet along comes a federal election, and suddenly both parties really care about diabetes.

So, I don’t have a “clinical need,” and will not qualify for a CGM. What’s to stop me from inflicting hypos on myself, or badly managing my diabetes in order to get one? Then there’s the issue of those young adults who will be able to access a CGM now, and then lose it as soon as they turn 21. Doesn’t seem very fair, does it?

I’m just a young adult trying to make my way in a very expensive world. Keeping myself healthy already takes up a large amount of my time, my energy and my income. I simply cannot afford to pay for what is essentially a luxury product. Just because I don’t have a “clinical need,” it doesn’t mean that this technology wouldn’t change the quality of my life.

As a person with a chronic illness, I am always reminded in the media of the burden I place on the healthcare system. Surely an investment in my health would be a step in the right direction. Surely having the option of using this technology would only motivate me further to manage my diabetes to the best of my ability.

Diabetes technology should be available for all who wish to use it. Period.

Sometimes I think that it looks better for politicians when they are photographed helping children or more visibly sick people, rather than ordinary ones.

But hey, that’s politics, I suppose.

7 thoughts on “No Clinical Need, No CGM For Me

  1. Frank in the US we are normally approved for CGM if we have wildly fluctuating Blood sugars or we have low blood sugar unawareness. I have the unawareness so I just made it under the wire. It is doubtful I could make it today and that would be terrible. My best advice keep plugging we are fighting our own battle for CGM for medicare (those above 65 and disabled) the fight seems terribly long.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes.org blog page for the week of June 20, 2016.

  2. I’m impressed with the lobbying that is taking place in Australia. Here in the UK there doesn’t seem to be anything effective and it is very rare even for young children to be funded for CGMs. A recent petition to Parliament about CGMs was met with a ridiculous and insulting response (talking about other issues, implying that where CGMs were available they were met with non-compliance) https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/107435 The clinical requirements for NHS funded CGMs are so tight as to be totally exclusive. The political announcement about CGM funding in Australia is a double edged sword and whilst to me it seems like incredibly progress to recognise that CGMs would be valuable for the under 21s, I truly believe that CGMs can be cost-neutral or have a financial benefit even if you discount the improved quality of life. It’s not so much about making the budget available for them as reshuffling the budget from acute and (future) long-term complications. But that requires a long-term view which is not how medical funding works. It’s ridiculous – all these people who just need a boost in current time to allow them access to the technology which will reduce their “burden” in the future. Grrrrr. Keep up the good fight.

    1. Thanks for the insight into the UK…it is great progress for Aus and I’m only being selfish here. But definitely keep making noise, it does make all the difference. 🙂

  3. It would be great to see CGM access unrestricted for all….but I am very happy that adults got recognised at all & not ignored completely. Continue speaking up where you can…change doesnt happen if everyone is complacent.

  4. Doesn’t sound selfish to me at all. It sounds completely reasonable to expect everyone has access to the tools they need to manage diabetes.

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