Shaheen, Collins Lead Push to Ensure Continued Support for Special Diabetes Program
**Letter is cosigned by a bipartisan group of 68 Senators**
**Copy of the signed letter available here**
(Washington) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, co-authored a letter to Senate leadership emphasizing the importance of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) that was signed by a bipartisan group of 68 Senators. Without action in Congress this year, funding for the SDP is set to expire on September 30.
“The groundbreaking discoveries made possible by this program are already improving the lives of the more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes, while charting a path for a better future for the 84 million Americans with prediabetes,” the Senators wrote in a letter to McConnell and Schumer. “Further investment in this vital program is essential to continue large-scale trials, plan next steps for research programs, conduct outreach and education, and effectively allocate research resources – all of which play an important role in helping to better treat, prevent, and ultimately cure diabetes.”
“We thank Senators Collins and Shaheen for their steadfast support of people with diabetes and for their outstanding leadership to sustain strong backing in Congress for the Special Diabetes Program renewal,” said Aaron J. Kowalski, Ph.D., JDRF President and CEO. “Funding for the SDP is necessary to help scientists across the country continue groundbreaking research projects that are moving us closer to cures for type 1 diabetes. At JDRF, we are pursuing a world without type 1 diabetes, and we are grateful to our partners in Congress who share our vision."
Diabetes continues to be one of the United States’ most costly diseases. It is a leading cause of kidney disease, blindness in working-age adults, lower-limb amputations, heart disease and stroke. Approximately one in four healthcare dollars and one in three Medicare dollars are spent treating people with diabetes. The economic costs of diabetes increased by 26 percent from 2012 to 2017, costing our nation $327 billion in 2017 alone. Meanwhile, the prevalence of diabetes is increasing, as an estimated 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed among U.S. adults in 2015.
A number of notable advancements to help treat and prevent diabetes can be attributed to the Special Diabetes Program, including the development of Artificial Pancreas (AP) Systems, which have shown great promise in glucose monitoring and insulin delivery that can dramatically improve quality of life.
The Special Diabetes Program consists of two components: the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research which supports research to prevent, treat, and cure type 1 diabetes and its complications; and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, which supports diabetes treatment and prevention strategies for American Indian and Alaska Native populations who are disproportionately burdened with type 2 diabetes.
The letter was signed by the following Senators:
Roger Wicker (R-MS), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-MA), James Inhofe (R-OK), Ron Wyden (D-OR), John Thune (R-SD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Ed Markey (D-MA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Gary Peters (D-MI), John Barrasso (R-WY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), John Boozman (R-AR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Michael Rounds (R-SD), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), James Risch (R-ID), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jack Reed (D-RI), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Tom Udall (D-NM), Tim Scott (R-SC), Doug Jones (D-AL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Angus King (I-ME), Rick Scott (R-FL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Martin Heinrich (D-NV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Todd Young (R-IN).