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Can Better Tax Rules Help Promote Gluten-free Diet for Celiacs?

Celiac.com 02/23/2016 - An estimated 350,000 Canadians have been diagnosed with celiac disease. For these people following a strict gluten-free diet is essential, not only for gut healing and symptom relief, but to avoid celiac-related complications such as anemia, osteoporotic fractures and small bowel lymphoma.

Photo: CC--401(K) 2012However, a gluten-free diet can be challenging to follow, inconvenient and expensive. To help reduce costs and make things easier for celiacs, authorities have tried various schemes, including tax reduction, cash transfer, food provision, prescription and subsidies.

But what works best? A team of researchers recently assessed the tax-deductible provisions for a gluten-free diet in Canada compared it with other countries.

The research team included MI Pinto-Sanchez, EF Verdu, MC Gordillo, JC Bai, S Birch, P Moayyedi, and P Bercik. Their recent review highlights advantages and disadvantages in relation to promoting compliance with a gluten-free diet.

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The tax offset system used in Canada for gluten-free diet coverage takes the form of a reimbursement for prior food costs. Hence, the program does not help celiac patients reduce the costs of gluten-free foods, it just provides a later refund of a portion of those costs.

In the research team's view, the best approach would lie in subsidizing gluten-free products through controlled vouchers or direct food provision to those who most need it, independent of 'ability or willingness to pay'. Moreover, they suggest, if such a program is too costly, the value of the benefits could be made taxable to ensure that any patient contribution, in terms of additional taxation, is directly tied to the ability to pay.

The team says the limited coverage of Canadians' gluten-free diets is concerning, and suggest that there is a substantial unmet need for gluten-free dietary resources among celiac patients in Canada.

Ultimately the team recommends that the Canadian medical community and the Canadian Celiac Association take a larger role in promoting improved access to gluten-free resources for people with celiac disease.

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1 Response:

 
Jim
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
25 Feb 2016 3:13:21 PM PDT
Strongly agree with their findings. After having visited Italy it seems like Canada has some catching up to do.




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@cyclinglady thanks for checking in Restricted diet didn't do much. Still had some VA last time they checked. Heath still otherwise fine, so RCD remains unlikely. My sxs kick in lockstep with life stress, so that kind of points to some general IBS stuff on top of celiac disease. Very doubtful I'm getting any gluten in, but fingers crossed my system is just a little hyper-vigilant, as I ponder on this thread.

I have always noticed that the table wine in Europe is pretty damn good! I am a wine lover and so is my husband but he does like his Green's beer.

The reason they set the limit at 20ppms is that through scientific study, they have proven that the vast majority of people with Celiac Disease do not have an autoimmune reaction to amounts below that......it is a safe limit for most. Also, just because that limit is set at 20ppms, does not mean that gluten-free products contain that amount of gluten. Testing for lower levels becomes more expensive with each increment down closer to 0-5ppms, which translates into higher priced products. Unless you eat a lot of processed gluten-free food, which can have a cumulative affect for some, most people do well with the 20ppm limit.

I'm in the Houston area so I'm assuming there are plenty of specialists around, though finding one that accepts my insurance might be hard. This might sound dumb, but do I search for a celiac specialist?? I'm so new to this and want to feel confident in what is/isn't wrong with my daughter. I'm with you on trusting the specialist to know the current research.

Hi VB Thats sounds like a good plan. Would it help to know that a frustrating experience in seeking diagnosis isn't unusual With your IGG result I'm sure a part of you is still wondering if they are right to exclude celiac. I know just how you feel as I too had a negative biopsy, but by then a gluten challenge had already established how severely it affected me. So I was convinced I would be found to be celiac and in a funny way disappointed not to get the 'official' stamp of approval. Testing isnt perfect, you've already learned of the incomplete celiac tests offered by some organisations and the biopsy itself can only see so much. If you react positively to the gluten free diet it may mean you're celiac but not yet showing damage in a place they've checked, or it may be that you're non celiac gluten sensitive, which is a label that for a different but perhaps related condition which has only recently been recognised and for which research is still very much underway. We may not be able to say which but the good news is all of your symptoms: were also mine and they all resolved with the gluten free diet. So don't despair, you may still have found your answer, it just may be a bit wordier than celiac! Keep a journal when you're on the diet, it may help you track down your own answers. Best of luck!