It's not a question of whether this would be better than current treatments. The problem comes from the fact that getting something a little bit better will prevent them from providing something a lot better. Right now, there is a surgery, called a duodenal switch (DS), which has upwards of a 95% cure rate for diabetes. It was originally developed for weight loss, but the combination of its affect on the production of gherlin and the malabsorption of calories it induces has been shown repeatedly to offer a permanent cure for diabetes. The treatment has been around for over a decade, and is used in many places in Europe as a treatment for diabetes. Here, since it was initially classified as a weight-loss surgery, insurance companies claim that it's elective and won't authorize it for patients whose BMI is under 50.
I developed diabetes a little over a decade ago. At the time, my weight was well within the healthy range, I was a dance instructor and working out 4-6 times a week. Both of my grandmothers and my father were diabetic, though, so I got a double dose of genetic predisposition. The first symptom I had, though, was the sudden onset of neuropathy in my feet.
The primary downsides to the DS are the need to take vitamin supplements for life and go to the doctor to get blood levels checked every 6 months and a risk of disagreeable flatulence if you eat certain foods. Given that I would be able to give up injections and several other medications that I am already taking on a daily basis, and am visiting the doctor every 6 months anyway for bloodwork, I'll trade gas for diabetes. The surgery would pay for itself in about 3 years, and I would be able to live a much more normal life, not only eating more normally, but not having friends and relatives obsessing over my eating at social events, being able to go out for a beer after work without worrying about having to adjust my medicine and food intake for the next 12 hours, and not having to skewer my fingers and arms multiple times each day for testing and injections.
By and large, though, someone like me with type 2 diabetes would not only be able to eat normally, but also stop taking hundreds of dollars worth of medicine each month and prevent further damage to nerves, kidneys and eyes. The surgery runs from around $8000 to $15,000. It would seemingly save the insurance companies money over the course of 3-5 years for someone like me, given the amount they claim to be spending on my medication, BUT that is not the calculus the insurance company is using.
Since BCBS also has its subscribers locked in to its mail order pharmacy, anything that would reduce the cost of my monthly medication is a threat to their profits. Their actual cost of medication has nothing to do with the "List Price" they show on the receipts. I would be very surprised if there are any medications that their cost exceeds the copay they extract from their subscribers, but it would be impossible to prove, given the fictitious transfer costs that insurers and drug companies report. I would suggest, though, that the cost of drugs in foreign countries is a good place to look for their true costs to the insurer, because, if the pharmaceutical firm can afford to sell a drug profitably for $20 in Canada, I suspect the $300+ List Price in the US is a bit padded, and that the $45/month my insurer charges for a copay leaves them with a profit margin they would rather protect than do what would be in my best interests.
I plan to pay for the surgery out of pocket as soon as possible, but I resent the damage done to my body from having to wait years to do so because the institution responsible for my health care is less worried about my quality of life than their own profits.