Pop In for a Coffee

Let’s Repeal the Diabetes Tax

Tomorrow is tax day in the U.S. Maybe you have it all squared away or maybe it’s not a worry for you. Whatever the case may be, it’s worth taking this moment to think about a tax we could all live without. Writing in Diabetes Care, Timothy Dall tells us that we’re all paying what amounts to a diabetes tax.

That’s right. For every person in the U.S., diabetes is taking $1,240 dollars out of our income. It adds up to $404 billion in medical costs and reduced economic productivity.

A Growing Burden

Dall et al researched the total economic burden from diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes for 2017. They looked at Optum medical claims as well as Medicare and Medicaid data to come up with their numbers. They looked at data on employment and productivity, too.

We’re hurtling toward a hundred million Americans with type 2 diabetes. What’s more, this trend is playing out all over the world. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re living in the U.K. or in China. The numbers are growing just about everywhere you look.

A Burden We Can Reduce

But here’s the thing. We have tools for rolling back this tax. For almost 20 years now, we’ve known that the Diabetes Prevention Program is an effective way to protect people with excess weight and obesity from progressing to diabetes. We know how to reverse type 2 diabetes with aggressive obesity treatment.

We must stop twiddling our thumbs while this hidden tax grows. The authors of this new analysis explain:

These findings underscore the urgency to adopt more comprehensive screening approaches as well as better prevention and treatment strategies, including continued scaling of the National Diabetes Prevention Program and greater uptake of diabetes self-management education and support.

We’ve got the tools. Let’s get serious about repealing the diabetes tax.

Click here for the study from Dall et al and here for further perspective.

Pop In for a Coffee, photograph © Chris Yiu / flickr

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


April 14, 2019