#MypumpMychoice #AccessMatters: I Didn't Choose To Have A Preferred Relationship With Diabetes

By now everyone is talking about UnitedHealthCare and Medtronic�s partnership and the press release that states in part: 
�As part of our ongoing efforts to provide a better member experience, while increasing quality and lowering the overall cost of diabetes care in the United States, UnitedHealthcare has reached an agreement with Medtronic to become the preferred, in-network durable medical equipment (DME) provider of insulin pumps for UnitedHealthcare Community Plan and Commercial members, effective July 1, 2016�
UnitedHealthcare will continue to pay for pump coverage for others brands until those pumps are out of warranty - and once that happens, customers will either have to switch to Medtronic or pay out of pocket for the pump of their choice.

You can read the Press Release in its entirety, HERE, and I highly suggest you do because it's important, no matter which insulin pump you wear, or don't wear - or whether or not UnitedHealthCare is your insurer.

FTR and not surprising, UnitedHealthCare doesn't don�t provide a direct link. Scroll down to �Front and Center,� and click on the 5th bullet point where it says �Medtronic to become preferred DME Provider of Insulin Pumps for Diabetes, Effective July, 2016.� 

I currently wear an out of warranty Medtronic Pump. That�s my choice - and yes, my insurance has a coo-coo high deductible, only partial coverage once crazy high coo-coo deductible is met, and ridiculous amounts of paperwork and labs to prove that yes, �I actually do have diabetes and require a new insulin pump.� 
And all of which make it anything but easy for me to get a new pump - but at least I get to choose said new pump when I actually get one. 

Here's the thing: It�s not like I chose to have a �preferred relationship with diabetes,� over a perfectly functioning pancreas. I didn�t have a choice when I was diagnosed with t1 diabetes almost 4 decades ago, and ever since my choice to live sans D was taken away, having choices in my life has become of paramount importance. 

Choice when it comes to how I live my life. 
Choice when it comes to my body.
Choice when it comes to my diabetes and the tools and methods I use to manage my diabetes.

And slowly, my (and by �my�, I mean OURS - EVERY SINGLE PERSON LIVING WITH DIABETES,) diabetes choices are being compromised and whittled down and have been for years - and that�s bullshit. 

This isn�t just about insulin pump choice - a choice that is both intimate and personal, since we wear them almost 24X7. 
It�s about not having a choice in the future when it comes to CGM choices, Artificial Pancreas choices, insulin, meters and test strip choices - as well as choices regarding insulin pumps - and coverage (or the lack there of,) for all of the above.

This move reinforces the thinking that diabetes is a one size fits all, disease. 

Diabetes isn�t once size fits all disease. Different strokes for different folks, for a disease where 95% of the day to day treatment is in OUR HANDS.

 94 years ago, insulin hit the scene and saved millions of lives -imagine if we still only had access to one type of insulin? 
Crazy, dangerous and unacceptable - to be perfectly frank, we�d be F^cked. 
Same goes for insulin pumps. 

I won�t demonize Medtronic - I have friends who work there with families and mortgages. 
Medtronic as an insulin pump has worked well for me since 2002. 
And my mother was one of the first people on the east coast to have an implantable defibrillator in 1991 - it gave my family an additional 20 years with my amazing mom and I will always be grateful.  

I don't find Medtronic pumps to be an inferior product, nor do I find insulin pumps made by other companies besides Medtronic to be inferior. 

But I won�t ignore the fact that this move is disturbing, sets precedents that don�t benefit patients, and has ramifications  that will adversely effect every PWD for years to come.

As a person with diabetes, I already know Pharma sees me as many things. 
As an Opinion and Thought Leader, a tool to communicate to the masses, and as a dollar sign.

And I'll cop to being all of the above. This dollar sign has a voice - And I�m not afraid to share my thoughts on what I believe is right�. and what I believe is wrong. 

This move is wrong and it hurts a lot of people on both sides. 

I�m asking both Medtronic and UnitedHealthCare to reconsider. 

I�m asking you to use your voice regarding this decision because your voice is so damn important. 

Together, the Diabetes Online Community moves mountains. Alone, we trudge up hills. 


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