Debate is continuing in the American press today, following publication of two conflicting views on the diabetes policy implemented by the New York City Health Department. The controversial policy requires the diabetic population of the city to submit their test results to the NYC health department for assessment. In the ‘pro’ camp sit diabetes professionals and scientists. Against the idea are rights groups and ethics experts, who believe that the policy violates privacy.
To summarise; those in favour of the New York agenda believe that the seriousness of the situation warrants extreme measures. Diabetes has reached epidemic levels in the city, and the complications caused by the disease (heart attack, stroke, blindness, amputations, amongst others) are causing a healthcare crisis. Diabetes population in New York are estimated at around 750,000. Those in favour of the policy argue that the costs of the disease are enormous, and not just in terms of care. The illness will reduce economic productivity as it strikes at younger people. They also argue that the need to violate confidential patient records outweighs the privacy issues.
Against the issue arguments proclaim that the invasion of privacy is unwarranted and “too frightening to contemplate” according to one expert. They say that warning letters to diabetics are targeting the wrong group, and that the onus should be on creating a healthcare system that works.
The debate continues.

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