Why We Should Root for Type 2 Pumps


I want to talk to you about some Type 2 diabetes news…wait, wait! Don’t leave! This might concern you, too.

In our latest tech roundup, we mentioned a study which found that people with Type 2 diabetes did better on pump therapy than multiple daily injections. This is not ground-breaking news, I know; pump therapy almost always performs better for people with diabetes.

As an editor of a publication on Type 1 diabetes, I am acutely aware that it can be frustrating to read about scientific breakthroughs in diabetes and find the study was focused solely on treating Type 2 diabetes. I’ve read similar sentiments from the Diabetes Online Community on Twitter. Dealing with Type 1 diabetes is isolating enough without being constantly reminded that you are a minority in a club you didn’t want to join. But if pump therapy starts becoming the go-to therapy for Type 2, then it will only get easier and cheaper for people with Type 1.

We were recently talking with a diabetes supply company about their business challenges, and they mentioned how frustrated they were with the patchwork nature of insurance coverage for insulin pumps. They found that insurance companies in California and Michigan tended to be proactive in covering insulin pump costs, but there were other states where coverage was spotty at best.

This makes no sense, of course. You would think insurance companies would be jumping all over themselves to cover pumps. But when it comes to medical innovation insurance companies are a bit like penguins crowding around the edge of a glacier, each refusing to take the plunge.

This could change. These days there’s immense political and economic pressure to drive down health care costs, and there’s just no way to do that without addressing the public crisis of rising rates of Type 2 diabetes. If millions of people with Type 2 start adopting pump therapy, then it will becomes less of a boogeyman for insurance companies, and coverage for pumps might flow down from the money mountain. More smart people with money working on insulin pumps will probably be a good thing for people with Type 1 diabetes, even if it will get a bit frustrating to find the hidden number “2” in the ending paragraph of a new pump trial.

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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.

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