What do Politics have to do with Celiac Disease & Gluten Free Food?

There has been a lot of buzz on social media about politics, and the question of whether bloggers should stick to talking about food has come up many times. Just like actors, athletes, and anyone in all other professions, bloggers are people who are allowed to have and express personal views. However, I thought it was important to bring up a deeper topic, one that I believe is not discussed nearly enough in the celiac disease community. This has lead me to create a series of posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, the first two of which are below.

Everything. Let’s talk about it.

✔️ People with celiac disease have a pre-existing condition, something the Affordable Care Act protects.

✔️83% of Americans with celiac disease are not diagnosed. On average it takes 6-10 years to get an accurate diagnosis. That’s a lot of medical bills. Want the diagnosis rate to go up? People need access to affordable health insurance that do not have lifetime caps.

✔️Many people with undiagnosed celiac disease have (or were misdiagnosed with) other medical conditions. Again, the ACA protects these individuals – one cannot be denied insurance for having a preexisting condition.

✔️Individuals with celiac disease are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act – a federal law.

✔️The FDA is a federal agency.

✔️Pharmaceutical companies do not need to declare the presence of gluten in medications because there is no law for it.

So yeah, celiac advocates will post about politics because politics affect our lives every day. We’re also people. As US citizens, we have a civic duty. And it’s time to vote.

My post yesterday only brushed the surface of how politics and celiac disease/gluten free food are directly related. Shall we talk about economics and class?

✔️Gluten free food costs 242% more than the gluten-containing counterparts. Can’t afford that?

✔️How about fresh fruits & vegetables? Fairly short shelf lives potentially means more waste and more frequent trips to the grocery store, which not everyone can manage.

✔️ How about food banks and government sponsored programs? Safe gluten free options are few and far between.

✔️On average it takes 6-10 years to obtain a celiac diagnosis. The costs include:

🔴 Health care premiums, copays and pre-deductible costs.

🔴 Transportation to and from specialists, some of which may not be local.

🔴 Potential loss of work and wages.

🔴 Potential child care costs.

Can’t afford all this? No diagnosis. Family members go untested. Long term complications and other serious medical conditions may arise from undiagnosed/untreated celiac, resulting in even higher medical bills, transportation costs, lost wages, etc.

The phrase “celiac disease/gluten free food is expensive” means so much more than the cost of bread.

About 1% of Americans have celiac disease, but 83% remain undiagnosed. What can we do? Supporting the expansion of affordable health care for all is a great start. Vote.

More to come. Looking for information about voting? Visit vote.org

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