by Charles Nabarrete
The American Council of the Blind Diabetics in Action (ACBDA) is dedicated to helping blind and visually impaired diabetics cope with the serious condition of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. To this end ACBDA has regular community calls, conducts educational calls where experts provide information, have a peer-to-peer mentor program where ACBDA members can share acquired knowledge with less experienced members, and has conducted instructional sessions on how to approach and persuade legislators to support legislation which would benefit diabetics, providing members with sample letters to send to their legislators, after appropriate modification, to request support for bills which benefit diabetics.
Medical devices generally do not provide readings verbally. In 2017 ACBDA sponsored a resolution which urged ACB to support the adoption of a bill which would require manufacturers to develop medical devices such as continuous glucose monitors which provide readings verbally. When we learned of H.R. 4853, a bill which would require, among other things, that medical devices which provided printed read-outs to also provide these results verbally, members of ACBDA conducted an informational session to support this important legislation. ACB adopted as one of its legislative imperatives the passage of H.R. 4853.
This year ACBDA has pushed for the cost of insulin to be limited to $35 per month for all diabetics regardless of income levels and insurance coverage. Some visually impaired diabetics who are on low fixed incomes sometimes have to make the dangerous choice of cutting their prescribed insulin dosage in order to pay for the necessities of life, such as rent or food. ACBDA members sent letters to their senators urging the passage of this legislation; however, because only the provision that Medicare recipients would have the cost of insulin limited to $35 per month passed under the reconciliation procedures, other diabetics still pay more than $35 per month. ACBDA is planning to continue to push Congress to pass legislation which will limit the cost of insulin for all diabetics to $35 per month.