Why Voting Matters with T1D
Celine Burrows, Simmons College '15, Public Health
Millennials have a lot going on. Many of us are busy trying to get an education, working part time or even full time jobs to pay for school, and trying to have a social life all at once. There’s even more to balance for those of us with or impacted by type one diabetes (T1D) because we have to closely monitor our health on top of it all. It’s not easy trying to juggle all of these things, so when we’re told that we should do something, but it isn’t necessarily required, we immediately jump on the opportunity to relax for once, to flat out just not do it, sit down and catch up on our favorite show on netflix, or just take a five minute nap because goodness knows we don’t get nearly enough sleep. However, just because we aren’t forced to do something, that doesn’t mean we should just push it off to the side. Registering to vote, (and actually voting), are two of those things that may not be required, but certainly shouldn’t be ignored!
As a young woman with T1D, I pay a lot of attention to the news and politics, because the state of our nation’s healthcare system is an integral part of my life. I need to consider things like insurance, research, being able to afford the high costs of insulin and other diabetes supplies, and so much more. If I don’t keep these things in mind, then I may as well be sitting in a sinking dinghy floating in shark infested waters. Knowing a presidential candidate’s plan for our country’s healthcare system, especially as it pertains to insurance, is especially important for someone with a chronic disease like T1D. The ability to live well and keep my A1C under control is determined by many factors but especially money. Can I afford to buy insulin? Can I afford my CGM sensors? Can I afford BG (blood sugar) monitor strips, lancets, and my endocrinologist visits? These are the questions that I don’t have to worry about every single day of my life because I have insurance. People with a chronic disease that require certain medications in order to stay healthy, (and alive for that matter), need to be cognisant of the presidential election, and aware of the current and possible future healthcare policies. Our very lives depend on it.
If politicians are trying to convince us and tell us what we need or even that policy impacting our health is null, we need to speak up.We need to be louder than them because we are the ones living and impacted by something like diabetes. We need to collectively go to the polls and vote. Not only that, but we need to talk to our family members about these issues. The idea of talking to a relative you don’t really like or agree with about healthcare policy issues may sound like a modern form of torture, but it’s just as important as voting yourself.
Getting up and going to get registered may be a nuisance, as is waiting in line to cast a ballot that may seem insignificant, but it’s so much more than that. Not only do millennials, (especially those with chronic diseases), have an obligation to our futures through voting, but so does everyone else. Our ability to vote for the people that will represent us and make decisions for us is one that we too often take for granted. Being able to voice our opinions and make changes in the way our country is run is one of the best parts of being American. It gives us power over our futures and allows us to be active participants in our lives. We can shape the way our country is going to be run if we just get up and vote. Whether you go out and vote this November for our next president, or at a town hall meeting in your neighborhood, make your voice heard. You can make a positive difference with the power of a ballot.
Editor’s Note: Learn more about voting and registering to vote.