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States That Expand Medicaid Detect More Cases Of Diabetes

Released: Monday, March 23, 2015

Johnny Reynolds knew that something was wrong as far back as 2003. That's when he first started experiencing extreme fatigue.

"It was like waking up every morning and just putting a person over my shoulders and walking around with them all day long," says Reynolds, 54, who lived in Ohio at the time.

In addition, Reynolds was constantly thirsty and drank so much water that he would urinate 20 or 30 times per day. "And overnight I would probably get up at least eight or nine times a night," he says.

Reynolds was working as a cook, broiling steaks at a small, family-run restaurant in Dayton. From a health insurance standpoint, he was stuck. His job didn't provide it, yet he made too much money to qualify for Medicaid in Ohio. The costs of diabetes aren't all as obvious as an insulin pump.

He was scared that if he went to the doctor he might end up with a huge bill. So despite having all the telltale signs of Type II diabetes, he just kept working. "It was just something that you grin and bear, you know, just go through your daily [routine], get done with what you need to do, and come home and try to get as much rest as you can for the next day," he says.

Reynolds' situation may sound extreme, but putting off visits to the doctor because you don't have insurance is common, says Dr. Vivian Fonseca, a professor of medicine and endocrinology at Tulane University, in New Orleans. And that's particularly a problem for people with diabetes, he says...

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