Today, U.S. Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation that would extend the National Diabetes Prevention Program -- which has been proven to significantly reduce the incidence of diabetes among seniors -- to all seniors covered by Medicare. Studies have shown that extending the program to Medicare patients could save the federal government billions of dollars per year.
"Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans struggle with diabetes, and even more are at risk of developing it, but for many people, this disease is very preventable," said Sen. Franken. "That's why I introduced this legislation, which would extend the proven Diabetes Prevention Program to millions of seniors all over the country. For adults at a high risk for diabetes who are over the age of 60, this program reduces the likelihood that they will get type 2 diabetes by over 70 percent. By extending this program, we can help seniors stay happier and healthier and, at the same time, save our taxpayers billions of dollars every year."
"We need to focus on common-sense health care policy approaches that save money while also improving Americans' health outcomes," said Sen. Lugar. "The Diabetes Prevention Program achieves this aim by preventing the development of type 2 diabetes for many individuals at high risk for the disease. By offering disease prevention initiatives like the Diabetes Prevention Program to Medicare beneficiaries, we stand to reduce the prevalence of costly and life-threatening chronic disorders and save taxpayers money in the process."
"Diabetes is a national epidemic and a serious problem in West Virginia, affecting more than 1 in 10 adults in the state," said Sen. Rockefeller. "This bill will reduce diabetes by expanding a proven diabetes prevention program to seniors on Medicare. It will improve the health of millions of seniors, and in many cases help them avoid diabetes altogether. It also reduces health costs nationwide since diabetes is one of the most burdensome diseases to our health care system. And it will create jobs to help build these diabetes prevention programs in communities throughout the country. This bill is a win-win, and I can't overstate the importance of it and this program for our families and communities."
Also cosponsoring the legislation are Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). For more information on the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act, please click here.