Going to Capitol Hill
Sandy is angry. She hates the fact that so many people with diabetes have no insurance and are unable to get medications. She is upset that a cure hasn’t arrived yet, and seethes every time she learns about another person with diabetes who is fired from his or her job or is discriminated against at school. She wants to get involved, but doesn’t know what to do.
As November gets closer and political ads begin to fill the airwaves, you may also wonder if there is an effective way to voice your personal concerns as an individual with diabetes. But you and Sandy can make a difference. Begin with a visit to the dLife.com advocacy page, a one-stop-shop of links to diabetes advocacy organizations and legislative resources. From there, you can head over to diabetes.org, the official website of the American Diabetes Association and become an ADA advocate.
As an ADA advocate, you will receive periodic email calls to action. The Advocacy section of the diabetes.org website lists numerous activities that you can do to help reduce discrimination, broaden insurance coverage, and heighten the dignity of people who have diabetes. Experience is not required. The advocacy department provides you with all the tools you need to make your opinions known, including names and contact information of your elected officials.
Right now, the advocacy department is urging all of us to ask officials who are running for congressional office to read and sign the Diabetes Commitment Survey for Candidates for the United States Congress. This one-page handout, which is posted on the diabetes.org website, lists facts regarding diabetes and requests a commitment of support. It states that diabetes is a deadly, serious, costly, and growing disease, and highlights the following facts – “For every dollar that diabetes costs this country, the federal government spends less than a penny on diabetes research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)” and “…the diabetes prevention program budget at the Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) is only funded at half the amount needed to ensure effective diabetes control and prevention programs in all 50 states.”
At the bottom of the flyer the candidate is asked to make the following commitment:
- If elected to Congress, I will support a 5% increase in funding for diabetes research at the NIH.
- If elected to Congress, I will support an increase of the diabetes budget at the CDC of $20.8 million.
If you don’t feel ready to take on this type of challenge, try something simpler. Order a red ADA Advocate T-shirt and wear it at local, regional and national events or wherever you go. When you wear the shirt, others will know that you support the needs and rights of individuals with diabetes.
You and Sandy are important members of our diabetes community. We need your energy and enthusiasm to help make change happen. Visit the advocacy section of diabetes.org today to learn how to use the 2006 Diabetes Commitment Survey, how to order ADA advocacy gear, and how to help make a difference in a variety of other ways.
Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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