Opinion | CPAP machine is a must-have medical device

As Kyle H. Kallman wrote in his May 2 health and science article How I Learned to Love CPAP, I love my machine too. But I don’t like the cost. This year the manufacturer charged my insurance company over $2,000 for a replacement machine. I am responsible for almost 50% of the bill. I’ve been using his CPAP machine for over 20 years and have never paid a penny for it, so I’ve seen that unexpected expense and the quarterly cost of necessities (masks, hoses, humidifiers, filters). His $200 bill was a shocker.

Like Mr. Kalman, I have tried over-the-counter products as well as surgery to remove the mandibular appliance, the uvula, the soft palate, and the tonsils. Still, nothing but CPAP helped my severe sleep apnea. I’ve had 4 machines in 20 years that are always insured, but the price has gone up.

According to the American Medical Association, 30 million people in the United States suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can lead to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and cognitive impairment. This is a risk factor for cardiac death. People with this disease block their airways and stop breathing, sometimes more than 100 times a night.

CPAP is a life-saving medical device. Rising costs are an economic barrier to access. As governments move to limit the cost of life-saving drugs such as insulin, it may be time to consider rising costs for critical medical equipment. I love CPAP, but I may not be able to afford it.

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