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September 11, 2013

By Gary A. Puckrein, PhD

Diabetes meter

From The Democratization of Health Care Series

Posted July 11, 2013 | Updated September 10, 2013

By Gary A. Puckrein

Published on the Huffington Post

Imagine the upheaval in our economy — on manufacturers, on jobs, on wages, on the availability of consumable goods — if, with the stroke of a pen, the cost of cars, computers, homes, land, clothing or food were reduced by 72 percent. Effective July 1, 2013 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will assert its authority to set prices by cutting reimbursements by 72 percent for diabetes blood glucose meters and supplies — often described as self-monitoring blood glucose (SMBG) systems. Over the next 10 years, they estimate, this policy change will reduce beneficiary co-payments by $17.2 billion, and save Medicare up to $25.8 billion.

If you are challenged with managing diabetes, you may applaud this new payment policy as an all-too rare, but welcome, pro-patient decision. If you or your loved ones don’t have diabetes, you may be inclined to overlook this announcement as benign, and not particularly relevant to your health and family economics.

In either instance, you would be mistaken. Our collective interest is tied up in reversing the shortsightedness that this form of market contraction represents.

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