Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) today introduced legislation to streamline federal funding intended for diabetes research, ensuring that federal tax dollars are targeted for maximum benefit to patients.. The bill also engages diabetes experts in the private sector to help the federal government address diabetes research in a fiscally responsible manner. The goal of H.R. 1074, the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act, is better patient outcomes and a reduction in the onset, progression and complications of diabetes and its costs to the nation.
"One in three Medicare dollars is currently spent on people with diabetes," Olson said. "America can boast having cutting-edge medical research and clinical care institutions, but right now, too many needy patients aren't getting it. Our bill seeks to ensure that Americans at risk of diabetes receive appropriate and effective preventive care and those with diabetes receive the same high quality care and enjoy a better quality of life by successfully managing their disease."
By the numbers: 25.8 million Americans have diabetes -- 8.3% of the U.S. population. Of these, 7 million do not know they have the disease. In 2010, about 1.9 million people ages 20 or older were diagnosed with diabetes. The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen from 1.5 million in 1958 to 18.8 million in 2010, an increase of epidemic proportions.
A 2010 report by the Texas Health Institute found that more than 8 million Texans will have diabetes by 2040. Currently, more than 2 million Texans are battling diabetes. Diabetes costs the U.S. more than $218 billion annually. $1 out of every $3 Medicare dollars is spent on people with diabetes. $1 in every $10 healthcare dollars is spent on diabetes and its complications. Finally, 37 federal departments and agencies are involved in the implementation of federal diabetes activities.
This legislation would form a National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission, which would consult with federal agencies and assist in coordinating and directing diabetes clinical care policy. The board would be comprised of healthcare professionals, patient advocates and representatives from the various federal agencies who deal with diabetes. The Commission would make recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and to Congress about current policies and programs that will improve the quality of diabetes care and patient outcomes. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has introduced a companion measure in the Senate.