Lawmakers push for improved diabetes care through tech advancements
Lawmakers and experts on Wednesday discussed the crucial role technological advancements are playing in providing health care, particularly for diabetes patients.
Despite medical innovations like blood glucose monitors, many Americans still have trouble accessing the proper tools for living with diabetes. Greater access to those technologies, lawmakers said, could improve the quality of life for the tens of millions of Americans who have diabetes.
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), a medical doctor and member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, said federal agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should be working to get some of those technologies to market faster.
“You don’t want to sacrifice speed for safety, but I have gotten uncomfortable or anxious because of the length of time it seems to be taking the agency to get through with the regulatory process,” he said at The Hill's "Innovation Forward: Technology and Diabetes Care" event.
Burgess also criticized the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), calling it an obstacle to increasing health care accessibility. He told The Hill's Steve Clemons that the CBO, which provides lawmakers with cost estimates of legislation, only looks at the immediate cost and not the long-term benefit that patients will gain from more affordable health care.
He added that there needs to be a more nimble way for the government’s budgeting process to address the “upfront” cost of preventive care.
Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, followed Burgess at Wednesday's event by stressing the importance of other tech advancements in the health field like telemedicine.
She said expanding broadband access to more rural areas would bolster telemedicine, which she noted has made it easier for patients to attend doctor’s appointments because they don’t have to worry about transportation or missing other commitments, such as work or school.
“Telemedicine can be a great equalizer, if done properly,” she said at the event sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company.