Liberals, give me my Air Miles back

B.C. government, quit-smoking funding, Type-1 Diabetes, costs of diabetes, Air Miles

Close family and friends, co-workers, acquaintances and even a few unlucky strangers will attest to the fact that I am a vocal advocate of non-smoking, a major pest, in fact, to those who won’t quit this stinky, disease-causing habit.

But I am not in favour of the B.C. government shelling out millions to help smokers kick the evil weed.

At least not while I, as a Type-1 Diabetic, who didn’t choose the disease, must pay for my own medical prescriptions and supplies, without any similar government largesse.

Starting Sept. 30 the government will be providing smokers with up to 12 weeks supply of nicotine gum, or patches, or prescription pills to kick the habit. The government estimates this will cost $15-$25 million a year, depending on how many smokers sign up.

Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if I could get three months worth of free supplies that could save my life?

On average, I go to the pharmacy every nine days, doling out anywhere from $75 to $350 each trip for the medical supplies I need.

Last year, I spent over $12,000 (to control this disease I didn’t choose) more than $2,000 of which came out of my own pocket.

I’m fortunate that I have third-party insurance – which I hasten to add I pay for – but many in B.C. are not so lucky.

In fact, it wasn’t that long ago, about eight or nine years ago, when I was working my first newspaper job in Grand Forks, getting paid beans and no benefits. Most months, it was a decision between buying food or buying insulin and test strips to monitor my blood sugar levels.

Needless to say, I became a regular at the local hospital – repeatedly costing the system.

I get it that tobacco-related illness is costing the health care system, and it would be a good thing if smokers would stop this nonsensical habit. But diabetes is costing the system about as much, and threatens to grow much larger.

The B.C. health ministry estimates tobacco-related illness costs $2.3 billion a year.

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, diabetes is costing B.C. $1.3 billion, and it’s expected to increase to $1.9 billion by 2020, if no action is taken to curb its growth.

Michael Cloutier, president of the association, says the economic burden of diabetes in B.C. is “staggering and threatens the sustainability of our health care system and the provincial economy.”

And yet, the government continues to turn its back on this disease, waiting until those with it are knocking on death’s door with gangrene, or vision impairment, or kidney failure, or nerve damage, or high blood pressure, or heart attack, or stroke – all complications of diabetes.

It’s as though the government figures we’ve already got the disease, we’re already doomed, so why bother. Or, maybe it’s because diabetes, sometimes viewed as the invisible disease, isn’t quite as sexy as smoking and cancer.

This quit-smoking program came just one month after the B.C. government decided to strip people with disease or chronic illness from getting any reward points, such as Air Miles, on medical supplies covered by Pharmacare, reasoning that it was not fair that we – the diseased – should rack up points on items the government is paying for, while the healthy unfortunates could not.

Alright then, if the government wants to play the fairness card, why not across the board? Why aren’t they paying for my prescriptions? Why aren’t they paying for my insulin pump? Why aren’t they paying for my continuous glucose monitoring system, which is not covered by third-party medical, and which could significantly improve my health?

How is this fair?

Just Posted

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Volunteers will gather at South Gate Shopping Centre on Fathers Day before fanning out to help clean up downtown Chilliwack. (Facebook photo)
Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association organizes Fathers Day cleanup

Volunteers will spend 90 minutes fanning out to gather trash in downtown Chilliwack

Folks look through some of the items for sale during the Voice of Hope giant garage sale at 7350 Barrow Rd. in Chilliwack on Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Giant garage sale today in Chilliwack supports Kenyan widows, orphans

Funds go to Chilliwack-based Voice of Hope charity to improve quality of life for impoverished Kenyans

Ben Holwerda of the Chilliwack Spartan Swim Club competes in a swim meet at the Landing Leisure Centre on Feb. 12, 2011. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre to close temporarily for scheduled maintenance

Pools, steam room, and sauna at Landing Leisure Centre closing for maintenance July 19 to Sep. 4

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Most Read