Yesterday’s Federal Budget tabled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau did not include key priorities Diabetes Canada has been urging the government to implement in order to combat an epidemic that threatens the lives of millions of Canadians and the future sustainability of our health-care system and our economy.
“11 million Canadians currently live with diabetes or prediabetes, and more than 14 million will be diagnosed by 2027,” says Diabetes Canada President and CEO, Rick Blickstead. “This budget was a missed opportunity to commit to reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and ensuring that all Canadians affected by diabetes have equal access to high-quality care and services to manage their disease.”
Diabetes Canada has been advocating for the Government to expand the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) to help alleviate the financial burden of devices, supplies and medication needed to manage the disease and possibly prevent or delay the onset of complications, including heart attack, stroke, amputation, kidney failure and blindness, which would mitigate long term costs to the health-care system.
“While our hope was to see an expansion of the DTC, we do acknowledge a change to the application process by adding nurse practitioners to the form as eligible medical practitioners,” says Russell Williams, vice-president, government relations and public policy with Diabetes Canada.
Additionally, given the growing body of evidence linking increased risk for type 2 diabetes with excessive consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, Diabetes Canada has been calling for a sugary drink levy, which was also notably absent from the budget. While alcohol and tobacco products will see a tax increase, this type of change has yet to be implemented despite efforts from Diabetes Canada and several leading health organizations.
We appreciate there have been health-care related announcements worth recognizing, such as the investments to improve the health outcomes of First Nations and Inuit, as well as to improve access to prescription medications. In particular we would like to highlight a request Diabetes Canada made regarding implementing electronic medical records as a way to influence prescribing behaviour and improving patient care.
“Ending diabetes and its devastating health impacts and stigma requires partnerships, education and continued advocacy; we will continue to meet with the government to discuss a comprehensive strategy that will address the needs of people with diabetes,” added Diabetes Canada President and CEO, Rick Blickstead.
Diabetes Canada looks forward to working with the Canadian government and other governments in the future to combat the diabetes epidemic.
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