One can imagine the squeeze on items in the provincial budget, due for release next week. Considering the government has vowed it will be balanced, entries must have undergone extra-fine scrutiny.
But proponents of public funding of insulin pumps for young people remain hopeful their pitch will be among new commitments.
Tammy MacLaren, a New Glasgow resident, managed to gather both attention for this cause and a lot of support through an online petition she started, now with about 6,000 signatures.
The NDP had been looking into the costs of such a program and the benefits. Those include not only the well-being of diabetics who are insulin-dependent but, as MacLaren has tried to emphasize, avoiding other related health complications.
Since insulin pumps are far more efficient than injections in monitoring sugars and regulating this hormone, proponents assert, they can help lower costs for treating disease linked to diabetes, such as cardiovascular complications, kidney failure and vision loss.
The government hasn’t so far tipped its hand on this one. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are the only two provinces not to have such funding, at least for pumps for children. But the government and opposition parties have expressed support – at least in principle.
Thus, such a commitment would encounter no debate.
That gets it over one hurdle. The balance of consideration is all the other spending a government commits to.
The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates the cost of implementation for Nova Scotia would be about $650,000 – a relatively modest cost. Considering the ‘wiggle room’ in setting a budget it should appear within grasp – were it not for a government grappling with a deficit pegged a couple of months ago at $277 million.
But what should be apparent in this case is the payoff in health costs is not years down the road, but in the short to medium term. It’s one of those things that, to pass it over, could be deemed penny-wise, pound-foolish.