Potential payback should be plain

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One can imagine the squeeze on items in the provincial budget, due for release next week. Considering the government has vowed it will be balanced, entries must have undergone extra-fine scrutiny.

But proponents of public funding of insulin pumps for young people remain hopeful their pitch will be among new commitments.

Tammy MacLaren, a New Glasgow resident, managed to gather both attention for this cause and a lot of support through an online petition she started, now with about 6,000 signatures.

The NDP had been looking into the costs of such a program and the benefits. Those include not only the well-being of diabetics who are insulin-dependent but, as MacLaren has tried to emphasize, avoiding other related health complications.

Since insulin pumps are far more efficient than injections in monitoring sugars and regulating this hormone, proponents assert, they can help lower costs for treating disease linked to diabetes, such as cardiovascular complications, kidney failure and vision loss.

The government hasn’t so far tipped its hand on this one. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are the only two provinces not to have such funding, at least for pumps for children. But the government and opposition parties have expressed support – at least in principle.

Thus, such a commitment would encounter no debate.

That gets it over one hurdle. The balance of consideration is all the other spending a government commits to.

The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates the cost of implementation for Nova Scotia would be about $650,000 – a relatively modest cost. Considering the ‘wiggle room’ in setting a budget it should appear within grasp – were it not for a government grappling with a deficit pegged a couple of months ago at $277 million.

But what should be apparent in this case is the payoff in health costs is not years down the road, but in the short to medium term. It’s one of those things that, to pass it over, could be deemed penny-wise, pound-foolish.

Organizations: Canadian Diabetes Association

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, New Glasgow, Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • Nanny state
    March 27, 2013 - 16:43

    You know it might be insensitive but did these families ever consider moving to a province that provides insulin pumps ? The endless requests for this from the government that from the government has us in a very difficult financial position in Nova Scotia. I frankly think we are going to end up like Greece in the near future.

    • Johnny smoke
      March 28, 2013 - 19:47

      I guess that you have never heard of preventive medicine? Further I guess that when questioned about a $27 million dollar blip in the budget it was characterized as "Non consequential" well if $27 million can be classed as non consequential then an amount of some $600 thousand can be classed as peanuts. Oh and for the record the government of Greece does cover the cost of such items, and no they are not the cause of the financial problems facing that country today. Just look all the government fees and charges just went up by 5.8% today that estimated to bring in another $11+ million but who is counting?

  • Never gonna happen.....
    March 27, 2013 - 01:05

    Politicians in Nova Scotia wont do a thing unless it lines their own pockets. As a type 1 diabetic who is on an insulin pump and now former NS resident, I was forced to move because the government does not offer assistance to insulin pump users. As for the complications that arise from diabetes I pretty much have them all and these became worse after moving to NS, mainly because I am no longer employable and cannot afford to pay for the supplies, which in my case comes to around $1200-1500/month. Thanks to heartless government my family is split up, it appears we will lose our home (because of the debt of my illness and no one will buy the house at fair value). My advice to any diabetic in NS is to leave the province now and move to more humane places like Alberta where they are now implementing a free pump program for serious type 1 diabetics. Nova Scotia be damned....

  • johnny smoke
    March 26, 2013 - 19:45

    "The NDP had been looking into the costs of such a program and the benefits". Surely you jest, the costs and benefits are visible for all to see.The identical program is currently in place in eight provinces and one territory already. As well the Indian populations have had their pump cost covered for ions. No need to look any further than New Brunswick. This is just a case of pure and simple neglect, for a government who like to tout it's self as "For the people" this should have been job one on day one in office. Here we are four years later an election announcement pending and guess what the chant will be? I hope that the suffering child diabetic's and their families can forgive them, I for one cannot and will not ever forget this massive neglect of concern for the youngest and most vunerable in our society, shame, shame, and more shame you should change your name to the Non Dependable Party that would be more fitting and be the cause of less disappointment by those in desperate need of these devices.

  • Tammy MacLaren
    March 26, 2013 - 07:47

    Penny-wise, pound-foolish, truer words were never spoken. The speech today when the MLA's sit should give us some hints as to the budget. This airs at 2pm on Eastlink. Fingers crossed there will be a mention of insulin pumps or reference to new coverage for newly developed medical applications.