COMMENTARY

Anne Peters: Advances in Diabetes, 2014

Anne L. Peters, MD; Mark Harmel, MPH

Disclosures

December 18, 2014

In This Article

Impact of Affordable Care Act on Diabetes Care

Whether or not you're a proponent of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, people with diabetes can find a lot to like about it.[1,2] The first to benefit from the new legislation were young adults, who can now stay on a parent's insurance plan until the age of 26. The other major benefit was the removal of preexisting conditions which previously priced people with diabetes out of the individual insurance market.[3]

The preventive services that are now covered could lead to earlier identification of diabetes and prediabetes, along with more widespread vaccinations and annual eye screenings that are particularly important for these patients.

On the other hand, many patients are now subjected to more restrictive provider networks and drug formularies. I find myself spending more time doing administrative paperwork and filling out prior authorization forms, with less time to see patients. This shift has created distress for my patients as well as for me, especially when well-controlled patients are asked to change therapies to different medications that aren't always equivalent.

It is hard to know what impact these changes will have on the diabetes population in the short or long term, and it's tempting to wish that we could fine-tune the law. Yet the challenges will continue in the courts and Congress while year two of the exchange enrollment continues.

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