Diabetes as a pre-existing condition — you’re kidding me, right?

Watkins/Courier Laura Pavlakovich, founder of the nonprofit “You’re Just My Type” tests her blood glucose levels using a drop of blood on Dec. 8, 2016.

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With all of the news coming out of the White House on an almost-hourly basis, it’s almost too easy to miss the few crucial pieces of news that will hold the most impact on everyday life.

The GOP’s proposed Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement plan (you know, the one that essentially makes living a pre-existing condition), adds to the list of illnesses that are considered “pre-existing conditions,” among a laundry list of rather controversial changes.

Under the American Health Care Act (AHCA), or what has now been dubbed “Trumpcare,” Planned Parenthood is defunded and women will end up having a much harder time gaining access to contraceptives and safe abortions, should they (rightfully) choose to take that route.

We already know that President Trump and Vice President Pence think women don’t have a right to their own bodies. But, that’s an issue for another article.

Perhaps one of the most shocking additions to the list of pre-existing conditions was that of diabetes, a disease where the body is unable to successfully respond to and produce the hormone insulin, leading to elevated blood and urine glucose levels and an abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates.

Director of the Office of Management and Budget for the Trump Administration, Mick Mulvaney, allegedly said the following in reference to pre-existing conditions that should be covered through health care and those that shouldn’t: “that doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes. Is that the same thing as Jimmy Kimmel’s kid [who suffers from congenital heart disease]? I don’t think that it is.”

Mulvaney, however, isn’t the only one to comment on this issue. Alabama representative Mo Brooks stated that the AHCA “will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher healthcare costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

What Mulvaney and Brooks don’t seem to understand however, specifically in the case of diabetes, is that not every case results from an unhealthy lifestyle.

There are two types of diabetes, known as Type 1 and Type 2. While Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented with a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise, Type 1 cannot. Diabetes isn’t a disease of choice, as there are a combination of factors that play into whether or not an individual is diagnosed over the course of his or her lifetime.

Adding diabetes to the list of pre-existing conditions means that about 30 million people living with diabetes in the United States will now either be denied healthcare or be forced to pay higher premiums for it.

In response to the aforementioned statements, the American Diabetes Association issued a statement saying that “Mr. Mulvaney’s comments perpetuate the stigma that one chooses to have diabetes based on his/her lifestyle. We are also deeply troubled by his assertion that access to health care should be rationed or denied to anyone.”

The fact that the Trump administration is trying to develop a healthcare plan based on whether or not people deserve it (and whether or not they should be held at fault for their own illnesses and ailments) is ridiculous.

Jimmy Kimmel gave a speech on the absurdities of the GOP’s proposed health care plan, which provoked Senator Bill Cassidy (also a physician) to propose the “Jimmy Kimmel test,” which essentially makes sure everyone gets the kind of healthcare that they need to take care of themselves, regardless of their conditions, pre-existing or otherwise.

Isn’t this what we should be working towards?

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