Stephanie J. Michigan

Healthcare and the Invisible Diabetes

This letter is from a type one diabetic who has concerns for Americas failing health care system.

Dear President,

I am writing this letter to you because I have the hope that you can do a better job than the previous presidency regarding a certain issue. I am a senior who attends a college preparatory high school in West Michigan. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that being president is one of the hardest jobs on the planet and that its impossible to please everyone. However, I still feel the need to present to you an issue that I feel is extremely important for a lot of people. This issue has affected me and my family on a very personal level and I believe that you have to power to change things for the better. Not just for me and my family, but for U.S. citizens all across America.

Healthcare. I know that word is an intricate and demanding concept that has become a burden to many in the last decade. We, the American people, were promised better care at a lower cost by the former president. We, the American people, were lied to year after year as insurance premiums rose and healthcare benefits plummeted. We, the American people, were fed false hopes and are now once again filled with a hope that you can make a change that helps us all. Please don’t let us be disappointed once again because we can’t handle any more falsehoods. Please help us and fix this incredible mess.

I am a type one diabetic. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic illness and autoimmune disorder that I developed when I was 5. I have never known anything else. This is a difficult disease that I didn’t choose to have. However, for some reason, most Americans tend to think that I have this disease because I either ate too much sugar as a child, didn’t work out enough, or because it runs in my family. None of those things are true. But I still have to deal with the ignorant, and usually offensive, comments on almost a daily basis. I partially blame that on the government. Most people get their information from the internet or from commercials they see for type 2 dieting pills. Both sources have an abundance of inaccurate information that groups type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes together. This creates a huge cloud of misunderstanding and ignorance. I have to deal with this ignorance, as if my chronic disease wasn’t hard enough to deal with already. I’m not blaming you, or saying this is your fault. I’m hoping that you can do something to mandate distinguishing factors in ads or information regarding diabetes so that people know there is a difference between type one and two diabetes. I have talked to many other type one diabetics and they feel exactly the same way as me. We all wish for help in educating the population. It’s what we care about.

Now I know that last paragraph may have seemed like a rant from an emotional teenager with an annoying disease. That may be true, but I still believe that healthcare is really messed up. My dad works at one of the top hospitals in Michigan and has been an RN there for over a decade. Recently, under President Obama, my dad has lost many of his benefits and the entire hospital has created new rules that are overly strict and not effective. What I’m saying is, the new healthcare system hasn’t worked and has only made the lives of those working in healthcare much harder. In addition to this, some of my medical supplies that help regulate my blood sugar are no longer covered by my insurance. Insurance companies have become more strict and more expensive. It has effected me, and my family in many different areas of our lives. I believe you have the power to change the healthcare system, and I believe you can change it for the better.

So I am writing this letter to you because I have the hope that one day type one diabetes won’t exist, and that the ignorance surrounding it will be cured. I myself am doing my best to educate my peers and teachers about the differences between the types of diabetes, but I can only do so much. Please, help the type one community if you can. Please, help fix our broken healthcare system. Please, make America better.

A concerned teenager,

Stephanie James