Governor Pat Quinn today signed into law House Bill 1815, legislation that will create a special license plate designed to raise awareness for diabetes and raise funds for diabetes research. The governor signed the bill at the University of Chicago Medicine's Kovler Diabetes Center's 2nd Annual Celebrating Miracles & Milestones Family Forum and Professional Education Conference. The signing is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to improve the health of people across Illinois.
"More than 800,000 people in Illinois suffer from diabetes, more than double the number from 20 years ago," Governor Quinn said. "It's critically important that we continue to do everything in our power to raise awareness and support research by leading institutions like the University of Chicago Medicine."
HB 1815 was sponsored by House Minority Leader Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago). The new, specialized license plates will cost $40 and $25 of the charge will be deposited into the Diabetes Research Checkoff Fund.
"We hope that this new option for a license plate will eventually serve as a moving billboard for diabetes awareness in Illinois and across the country," Rep. Cross said. "This new plate will not only create more awareness in our communities, but it will also support diabetes research at respected institutions like the University of Chicago's Kovler Diabetes Center, JDRF and the ADA. Every moment we use to create awareness helps us get one step closer to a cure.
"People are suffering from this debilitating disease at an alarming rate," Sen. Hunter said. "We need to continue searching for prevention methods and ways to improve the lives of those suffering from this affliction."
Governor Quinn today also signed a second important diabetes law, HB 2199, sponsored by Rep. Jim Durkin (R-LaGrange) and Sen. Antonio Muñoz (D-Chicago). The bill requires the Illinois State Diabetes Commission to submit a comprehensive report to the General Assembly every other year starting in 2015 that details the social and economic costs of diabetes as well as efforts to control and prevent the disease.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the number of Illinois residents who have diabetes has more than doubled over the past 20 years, reaching approximately 800,000 in 2011. The department also estimates that an additional 500,000 people are unaware they have the disease. Of Illinois adults with diabetes, 18.6 percent are 65 years of age or older. Diabetes-related care in Illinois costs around $7.3 billion each year.
It is estimated that by 2020, the number of adults with diabetes will increase 43 percent nationally and 25 percent for Illinois. These projections emphasize the importance of access to medical care, developing a healthy lifestyle, and the importance of self-management of diabetes and other chronic diseases. Many complications of diabetes can be prevented or delayed by controlling blood glucose, blood pressure and high cholesterol through lifestyle changes.
The University of Chicago Medicine's Kovler Diabetes Center forum was held at the Chicago Marriott on Michigan Avenue. The conference features updates on the latest research, diagnosis and management of monogenic diabetes, networking for families with genetic forms of diabetes and advanced medical and professional training. Attendees from all over the world share their stories, learn from one another's experience with monogenic diabetes and participate in ongoing research activities.
IDPH offers programs aimed at preventing diabetes, such as the Illinois Diabetes and Prevention Control Program and the Illinois Tobacco Quitline. For more information please visit: www.idph.state.il.us
HB 1815 and HB 2199 will take effect Jan.1.