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PCs Breaking Diabetes Coverage Promise

Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberals are calling out the Stefanson Government for failing to deliver on a Pallister-era promise to cover insulin pumps, especially for people with Type 1 Diabetes under the age of 25 in Manitoba.

Manitoba is one of the only provinces that does not cover insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors for people of all ages. As a result, people with type 1 diabetes, which is an incurable autoimmune disease, have to test their own blood and inject insulin manually, putting them at risks of blood sugar highs and lows that can result in serious medical side effects.

The serious complications of diabetes include blindness, nerve damage, heart attacks, strokes, amputations, and kidney failure. All of these can be prevented with proper diabetes management using digital blood sugar monitors (CGMs) and insulin pumps.

"We could be preventing everything from ER visits and health scares for children and parents, to blindness, disability, strokes and heart attacks. The PCs promised this, but are still trying to find ways to squirm out of their obligation, by setting up roadblocks to applying," said Dougald Lamont, Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party and MLA for St. Boniface. "We cover pacemakers for heart failure. We should cover pumps for pancreas failure, and it should be for everyone because no one stops having type 1 diabetes just because they turned 25."

The PCs announcement was made on April 6, 2021, and yet insulin pumps are still not accessible to those eligible.

Just last week, the PCs announced the insulin pump coverage program for Manitobans is live, but health care providers are still not informed on how to go about applying.

Trevor Kirczenow, parent of an 11-year-old child with type 1 diabetes said it is also discouraging that Omnipod isn't on the approved list of insulin pumps that the province will eventually cover.

"It's the most popular pump chosen by families with kids under 18 because it's really good for people who are physically active. It's also already covered in the under 18 age category, and I don't want my son to have to learn a new pump system when he turns 18," said Kirczenow. "That's a time when young people are already vulnerable to struggling with their diabetes care. They might be going off to college or getting a job, living on their own for the first time - why do we have to throw a whole new pump system into the mix? That makes diabetes even more dangerous than it already is."

"The PCs aren't even able to follow up on a simple promise. The bar was already low and they still managed to trip over it," said Dr. Jon Gerrard, MLA for River Heights and Manitoba Liberal Health Critic.

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