Diabetes Affects 15 Percent Of All Americans, But One-Third Of Appalachia

A Salon profile on the diabetes epidemic in America highlights the disease’s discrepancies across different regions and economic classes. Nationwide, diabetes affects about 15 percent of all Americans, but across the Appalachian region, a full third of the population is believed to be diabetic — and some estimates predict that 50 percent of the mountain population will be diabetic in 25 years. One health worker pointed out that expanding access to assistance programs could help encourage at-risk patients to seek preventative care, since drugs for pre-diabetic or borderline patients can cost up to $100 for those who aren’t covered by Medicaid or Medicare. Under Obamacare, states have the option of expanding the Medicaid program to cover additional low-income people who weren’t eligible for coverage before the health reform law. Some governors, including Kentucky’s, have not yet decided whether to accept the Medicaid expansion; some Republican governors have already stated their intention to reject it.