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New Diabetes Legislation Introduced in the U.S. Senate

The legislation will establish a commission comprised of private and public sector members which will evaluate all of the government’s current approaches to diabetes care and provide recommendations on improvements, integration and on new approaches to this public health epidemic.

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) applauds the introduction of a new Act in the U.S. Senate entitled, "The National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act" and was introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the Co-Chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus.

Diabetes is one of the most significant and challenging public health issues of our time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are 26 million Americans with diabetes and 79 million Americans with pre-diabetes. These statistics represent an increase of 2 million Americans with diabetes and 22 million Americans with pre-diabetes in the last three years alone. If current trends continue, the diabetes epidemic will only grow worse. According to the CDC, one of three American children born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

Diabetes is extracting a devastating economic toll on the nation as a gateway disease to other very serious medical complications associated with the progression of diabetes. Currently the nation spends over $174 billion on diabetes each year, including one out of every three Medicare dollars.

The National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission as established in the Senate bill will be comprised of diabetes experts, including endocrinologists and other health care providers who work directly with diabetes patients, patient advocates, and representatives from federal agencies most involved in diabetes care activities. The Commission will evaluate current federal quality improvement initiatives and identify redundant and ineffective policies and determine which policies are effective as well as those deemed ineffective regarding care for people with diabetes. The Commission will make recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and to the Congress on new approaches and the consolidation of existing approaches that will help leverage the federal investment in diabetes research to improve patient outcomes and reduce the burden of the disease.

"There is a recognition in the diabetes community that continuation of the status quo is unacceptable. Doing nothing or even doing more of the same will not reverse the arc of worsening diabetes prevalence and complications which will ultimately overwhelm the entire healthcare system with devastating numbers of patients with this disease alone," said Alan Garber, M.D., Ph.D., President of AACE.  "AACE believes the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission is a significant first step in the nation’s battle against diabetes and its consequences," Garber added. "AACE is pleased to work with our colleagues in the diabetes community and the Co-Chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus to advance this important initiative." Garber noted that all of the major diabetes organizations have endorsed the Senate legislation. In addition to AACE, the Senate bill is supported by the American Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Pediatric Endocrine Society, The Endocrine Society and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act was also introduced by Congressman Pete Olson (R-22-TX) last September in the U.S. House of Representatives. HR 2960 currently has 26 co-sponsors, with many being members of the Physician Caucus.

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists