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Opposition Shocked No Insulin Pump Coverage on World Diabetes Day When It Would Save Money and Lives
The Finance Minister confirmed to Wakeham in the House of Assembly on Thursday that the $22 million contingency fund remains unspent.
Thursday, November 14, 2019

Office of the Official Opposition
For Immediate Release

St. John’s, NL (November 14, 2019) – PC Opposition Finance Critic Tony Wakeham said he was shocked the Ball government did not announce full coverage of insulin pumps on World Diabetes Day when the money to purchase the pumps is available in the government’s $22 million contingency fund and the coverage would save money and lives.

The Finance Minister confirmed to Wakeham in the House of Assembly on Thursday that the $22 million contingency fund remains unspent.

Wakeham said, “Studies have shown that pump therapy not only improves the lives of people with diabetes, but will also achieve substantial cost savings in our province through reductions in expenses due to diabetes complications.” Wakeham quoted Diabetes Canada, which stated: "By 2032 the expanded program will not only pay for itself, but will provide the province a net savings of approximately $1.3 million.” https://www.cbc.ca/1.5070701

Wakeham said, “More than 2,700 people in our province are living with Type 1 diabetes. We know that insulin pump therapy is crucial in managing this challenging disease. Last spring, MUN medical students called for change and advocated for insulin pump coverage for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who need it.” Wakeham quoted Maggie O’Dea, a MUN medical student and a MUN representative on the Canadian Federation of Medical Students' government affairs and advocacy committee, who stated: “By lifting the age restriction on the NL pump program, the province will not only improve the health and quality of life of people with Type 1 diabetes who depend on pump therapy, but will also achieve substantial cost savings through reductions in expenses due to diabetes complications."

Wakeham asked the Minister of Finance to explain why the age restriction for insulin pump coverage was only lifted for diabetics still under 25, leaving so many others to face the unnecessary burden of expensive and archaic diabetes management, when expanding the program would produce a net savings in health costs for the province.

Wakeham said, “The government has the money to do this. Its refusal to step up has left many people with diabetes without access to insulin pumps even though covering the therapy would save their lives while also saving the province money. Why in the world would the government delay a life-saving, cost-saving policy change when it’s so clearly the right thing to do?”

Contacts:

Bradley Russell

Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

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