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Bernie Foster at MLK Breakfast 2019
By Bernie Foster | The Skanner News
Published: 31 January 2019

There is a saying that information can bring choices and choices bring power – educate yourself about your options and choices. On January 21 at our Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast in Portland, I displayed on screen for everyone there to see the toll free number to call for information on diabetes. I also mentioned I was leaving for Orlando, Florida later that week to attend the National Newspaper Publishers Association conference where I would be learning more about diabetes and how the increasingly high costs of insulin affects people’s ability to afford diabetes treatment.

I did not need to travel to Florida to know that here in Oregon understanding our options helps us take better control of our health. When it comes to our health, knowledge is power.

Studies show that the diagnosis of diabetes among adults in Oregon has more than doubled over the last 20 years.

There are over 287,000 adults with diagnosed diabetes and an estimated 110,000 adults with undiagnosed diabetes.Rates of diabetes among African Americans are 23 percent higher than that of whites. This is alarming and a cause for concern.

Diabetes and pre-diabetes costs are estimated to be $4 billion in Oregon annually. This includes direct medical expenses for diagnosed, undiagnosed, pre and gestational cases. Direct costs associated with reduced productivity from diabetes are estimated at $840 million per year. Serious health complications include heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness – and death, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Lawmakers should address the shocking increase in insulin costs of nearly 555 percent from previous years. Oregon legislators should take on the challenge of sky rocketing drug costs through a number of bills being put before the senate this year.

 The most important thing our community can do is to stay informed and use the tools provided to us, not to simply survive, but to thrive.

We at The Skanner News understand the health disparities in this state, especially concerning diabetes in the African American community.

We know that in order to close the gap, we have to engage and inform our readers by providing information directed to our community regarding the best options in diabetes maintenance and affordable diabetes medicine.

Helpline

Here is what we didn’t know. Diabetes patients in Oregon can call the helpline to get some help and representatives will work with them and develop a plan based on patients’ needs. Call the Eli Lilly Solutions Center at 833-808-1234. Information includes cost-saving solutions, clinic information, support and short- and long-term options for immediate needs. Lines are open between 9:00 am to 8:00 pm (ET). Others may be doing this too, so be sure to research where else you can find help and information for people suffering from diabetes.

Information will bring you more choices. When we know more about our options we can do better as it relates to taking control of our health -- for knowledge is power!

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