Yesterday, Manitoba Finance Minister Cameron Friesen tabled the provincial budget without mention of much-needed diabetes supports or improvements that will take steps to improve the lives of Manitobans living with diabetes or prediabetes.
“This news is concerning as we have been urging the government to take action by investing in evidence-based measures that will keep Manitobans with diabetes healthy and reduce risk of costly and serious complications,” says Andrea Kwasnicki, regional director with Diabetes Canada.
One key priority is expanding the public funding of insulin pumps beyond the current age restriction to include all medically-eligible Manitobans with type 1 diabetes, regardless of age. This ensures people with diabetes would have the tools they need to better manage their disease, ultimately improving their health and quality of life.
“It’s an issue of fairness. Individuals over 17 remain without public support for an insulin pump,” says Kwasnicki. “Not investing in diabetes care will only put pressure on our emergency rooms and hospitals caring for people with costly complications of diabetes.”
Diabetes Canada also recommends the Manitoba government invest in a provincial diabetes pathway that would identify gaps in care and ensure timely support for optimal diabetes management. There are currently 377,000 Manitobans living with diabetes or prediabetes (representing 27 per cent of the population) with direct cost to our health-care system of $132 million this year alone.
While the province’s health spending will increase by 0.9 per cent, this is lower than the rate of inflation meaning there will be some inevitable cuts to the health budget. Diabetes is a personal crisis for people living with the disease, and for their family. Diabetes is also causing a financial crisis for our health-care system. Treatment of the disease and its related complications are consuming an ever-larger share of health-care budgets, and will soon force a tremendous increase in those budgets. This is why urgent action today to address this diabetes crises will work to reduce the number of complications would also affect hospitalization rates, amputation rates, medication use, etc.
Diabetes Canada plans to address the noted lack of support in this recent budget and will continue to advocate to elected officials so that Manitoba can make progress that will influence healthier communities and inspire broader policy improvements.