The following editorial appeared in the Greensboro News & Record:
Diabetes is a costly epidemic in North Carolina, and it is rapidly expanding. That’s a disturbing finding headlining a report by Harvard University researchers released earlier this year.
While North Carolina is fortunate to be the focus of a diabetes study by the Center for Health Law and Policy at Harvard Law School, the reason for the attention is ominous: North Carolina has a huge problem.
The rate of diabetes here has doubled over the past 20 years. It is the seventh-leading cause of death in the state – and it’s more deadly than that for African-Americans and American Indians. By 2025, if this trend continues, diabetes will take many more lives and “cost the state’s public and private sectors more than $17 billion per year in medical expenses and lost productivity,” the report says.
Risk factors include being overweight, exercising too little and having high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Lifestyle choices are important for reducing risk or managing the disease.Unfortunately, the authors say, many North Carolinians lack access to medical care or programs that help them reduce risk or manage disease.
They recommend a number of policies to improve those conditions. One, already rejected by political leaders, is broadening Medicaid eligibility. This report gives another reason to reconsider.
Continue reading the full article here.