Medical Association Appeals to Diabetes Patients to Press for Congressional Action

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) is appealing to diabetes patients, their family members and friends, and other health care professionals to urge members of Congress to pass the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act.

The legislation calls for the creation of a public-private commission composed of endocrinologists, other front-line diabetes health care providers, patient advocates and representatives from federal agencies involved in diabetes care activities.

The commission’s charge is to identify critical gaps in existing federal diabetes clinical care initiatives, ineffective or redundant activities that should be discontinued, and new approaches that are needed to stem the tide of the US diabetes epidemic. The commission will submit its recommendations for better leveraging the federal government’s investment in diabetes-related programs to the US Secretary of Health and Human Services and Congress.

AACE commends Representative Pete Olson (R-22-TX) for introducing this legislation in the US House of Representatives (H.R. 1071) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) for introducing the legislation in the Senate (S. 539). Both bills were introduced on Tuesday, March 12.

A devastating, systemic disease that is the leading cause of kidney failure, new cases of blindness, and amputations, diabetes’ financial impact exacts an enormous economic toll: the US spends an estimated $176 billion each year on diabetes-related care, including one out of every three Medicare dollars. Once the additional costs of undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes are factored in, the total cost of diabetes in the United States is more than $200 billion annually.

“With 26 million adults and children in our nation suffering daily from this debilitating condition, the stakes couldn’t be any higher,” says Alan J. Garber, MD, PhD and president of AACE. “Then you factor in the 35% of the U.S. population that is prediabetic and the 17% of our country’s children and adolescents who are obese, a known precursor to diabetes, and it becomes evident that unless we invest federal dollars wisely and create innovative approaches to diabetes care, the impact to our economy and healthcare system could be catastrophic.”

The legislation has been endorsed by the American Diabetes Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Medical Association, The Endocrine Society, and the Pediatric Endocrine Society. 

Source: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists