U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, have introduced new legislation to establish a commission of health care experts to advance diabetes care and prevention. The bill, the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Care Act, would bring together public and private sector experts in diabetes research and treatment to offer insight improving clinical care for diabetes patients.
"Every 17 seconds, people of every race, gender, age and nationality are diagnosed with diabetes," Shaheen said. "We must act now to slow the growth of diabetes to improve the quality of life for people across the nation and reduce costs to the healthcare system. We have an opportunity with the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission to change the trajectory of this widespread, chronic disease."
"Since the Senate Diabetes Caucus was founded in 1997, funding for diabetes research has more than tripled from $319 million to more than a billion dollars last year. As a consequence, we have seen some encouraging breakthroughs in diabetes research, and we are on the threshold of a number of important new discoveries," Senator Collins said. "The National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission would keep us moving in the right direction by streamlining national and federal efforts to improve diabetes care and increase awareness and prevention."
Specifically, the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission will help improve the quality of diabetes care by:
Identifying gaps where new approaches are needed to improve diabetes care
Eliminating duplication and conflicting efforts and assisting in coordination of all federal agencies
Leveraging the significant federal investment in research by evaluating best practices and other resources and tools for diabetes health care professionals and patients
Evaluating the utilization and data collection mechanisms of existing programs
Providing guidance on diabetes clinical care to maximize the effectiveness of our strong federal investment on diabetes research
Nearly 26 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes and another 79 million have pre-diabetes, a condition that is known to progress to diabetes without early intervention. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that if current trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050.
Diabetes is also one of the most expensive chronic diseases and costs the American health care system billions of dollars each year. According to the CDC, the medical costs for a person with type 2 diabetes is $9,677 per year and $14,856 per year for an individual with type 1 diabetes. Overall, one in every ten health care dollars and one in every three Medicare dollars is spent on patients with the disease.
As co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Shaheen and Collins have been strong advocates for families and individuals struggling with diabetes. They have introduced legislation to enhance research on gestational diabetes and have been leaders in supporting the Special Diabetes Program and the artificial pancreas, a device that could improve the lives of millions of Americans living with diabetes.
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) has introduced companion legislation in the House.