U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) welcomed congressional passage of the reauthorization of the Special Diabetes Program on Thursday, after the House of Representatives passed the bill. The legislation was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate on Wednesday.
Dorgan introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize this program in March and made the Special Diabetes Program a top priority for this Congress. The reauthorization will now go to the White House for the President to sign.
"Reauthorization of the Special Diabetes Program is critically important in our nation's growing effort to combat this devastating disease," Dorgan said. "The Special Diabetes Program is a smart federal investment - leading to important discoveries and clinical advances as well as providing crucial and often life-saving programs to Native Americans."
The Special Diabetes Program provides diabetes treatment and prevention services to Native Americans across the country. It also provides important and significant funding for research on type 1 diabetes at the National Institutes of Health. The recently reauthorized Special Diabetes Program will continue the program in Indian Country at least through 2013.
Today, more than 24 million people have diabetes, which is an increase of more than four-fold over the last 30 years.
Native Americans suffer from diabetes at more than twice the rate of the general population in the U.S. In fact, in some tribal communities the rate of diabetes has reached over 60 percent.