This Medicare program could be a ‘prelude’ to a risky Rx

If you’re on Medicare, watch out!

The agency has just “boosted its incentives” for your doctor to “diagnose” you as “prediabetic.”

Once that’s in the bag, you’ll be referred to a “health coach” who will make you part of the newly-expanded Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP). And for each “prediabetic” signed up who drops some pounds, that’s around $800 in your doc’s bank account.

Sound crazy? Well, this plan from Medicare is all part of the “pre” disease bonanza, something that has already roped millions of Americans into taking risky pharmaceuticals they don’t need for diseases they don’t have.

And nowhere is this business more lucrative then where “prediabetes” is concerned.


Diagnosing a disease that isn’t

Prediabetes has been a favorite non-disease for mainstream medicine for some time now.

As we’ve told you before, even the name itself isn’t anything “official” — but was thought up on the fly at a press conference of the American Diabetes Association years ago.

And Big Pharma took to it like a duck to water!

Now, the latest program to keep prediabetes in the spotlight is coming from Medicare. It’s being promoted to “prevent” diabetes by having patients whose blood sugar is slightly above normal — but not high enough to call them diabetic — lose weight and make better food choices.

At first glance, it might sound like a great idea — having people in danger of becoming diabetic benefit from “face-to-face” sessions with experts who will provide them with diet, lifestyle and exercise tips (and who will be certified and compensated for their time and effort as well).

But like everything the feds touch, things never turn out to be quite that simple — or beneficial.

Medicare has opened MDPP up to practically anyone who claims to be a “lifestyle coach” and can pass a background check. And it isn’t limited to hospitals or clinics, either. These pre-prevention interventions can be held practically anywhere, and the more of these courses you attend, the more Medicare money gets handed out.

But the real fly in the ointment here is that everything about the MDPP is ripe for “sponsorship” — even the rules, which are almost 200 pages long and allow for “beneficiary engagement incentives” as long as they “relate to the goals of the program.”

And who, of course, will be happier to join in the game than Big Pharma?

Along with that in-person help, patients will be offered high-tech goods such as tablets, fitness watches, and other items, which will be loaded with apps to help them reach their exercise and weight goals.

Sure sounds like another foot-in-the-door opportunity for drugmakers to reach us with ads and promos for their diabetes meds — and to get doctors to prescribe them as “preventive medicine.”

The real story where prediabetes is concerned is that there is no “national or international consensus” among doctors about what exactly it is. In 1997, the American Diabetes Association lowered the glucose numbers needed to be called a “pre,” pretty much saying that any elevated blood sugar reading is enough for such a diagnosis.

On the other hand, if your examination took place in Europe, you would simply be told you have “non-diabetic” high blood sugar.

And those kinds of labels can make all the difference in the world when it comes to whether you’re prescribed a risky diabetes drug… or not.

If your blood sugar numbers are a little high and you need to lose some weight, a much better idea would be to join a gym in your area, start walking with a buddy, or perhaps do some laps in the pool several times a week.

But having your doctor diagnose you with a disease you don’t really have can be a slippery slope that can lead you right into Big Pharma’s clutches. And that, in turn, could really end up making you sick!

“Medicare ups provider incentive for prediabetes intervention” Cheryl Clark, July 14, 2017, MedPage Today, medpagetoday.com