On June 30, 2021, Get Healthy Utah held a virtual information session on type 2 diabetes, the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), and the importance of Medicaid coverage. During the information session, Representative Suzanne Harrison introduced upcoming legislation that would allow Medicaid coverage of the National Diabetes Prevention Program in Utah. A recording of the information session can be viewed HERE.
Type 2 Diabetes, Prediabetes, and the National DPP
Ellen Maxfield, University of Utah
Prediabetes is when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes can turn into type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes have 2.3 times greater healthcare costs than people without diabetes. Therefore, it is most cost effective to prevent type 2 diabetes before it begins. The National DPP is a year-long class that can help people with prediabetes reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The class is taught by a trained lifestyle coach and focuses on promoting long-term improvements in healthy eating and physical activity. For those with prediabetes, the National DPP cuts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%. Among adults over 60 years of age, it cuts the risk by 71%.
Laura Summers, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute
Approximately one in five Americans are covered by Medicaid. Medicaid has 15 mandatory benefits that must be covered by all Medicaid programs. However, individual states can seek federal permission to cover additional services, such as chronic disease prevention programs. The National DPP is one such chronic disease prevention program. Thus far, 17 states have added Medicaid coverage of the National DPP as an optional benefit. For more information about national coverage, visit https://coveragetoolkit.org/participating-payers.
Representative Suzanne Harrison, Utah Legislature
Representative Suzanne Harrison, a practicing physician, has filed a bill that would allow Medicaid coverage of the National DPP in Utah. Disease prevention is key to improving medical outcomes and healthcare costs. The bill includes an ongoing fiscal request, but also comes with federal matching funds.
Tell Your Story
Laura Keller, American Diabetes Association
The first step to engage with legislators effectively is to lead with a personal story. Tell a legislator why addressing diabetes is important and how it has affected you or a loved one. The second step is to share relevant and accurate facts. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say that you don’t know and get back to them later. The last step is to end with an ask. Ask the legislator to take action and support the bill.
Legislative Next Steps
Carrie Butler, Upstream Consulting
Citizens are permitted to lobby as a private citizen, separate from any organization they work for. The legislative website for Utah is le.utah.gov. This website is an effective tool for tracking bills. It offers information about whether or not a bill passed and which legislators voted for or against it. The website also provides information about legislative committees, including which legislators are members and how to contact them.