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(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, today introduced new legislation to establish a commission of health care experts to advance diabetes care and prevention. The bill, the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Care Act, would bring together leaders in diabetes research and treatment to offer insight on how to improve clinical care for people with diabetes.

“Diabetes is a devastating condition that does not discriminate. It affects people of every age, race and nationality,” Senator Shaheen said. “While we have made progress in furthering diabetes research, there is more we can do to invest in prevention, find innovative treatments and hopefully discover a cure. The National Diabetes Commission would be a step in the right direction in fighting this debilitating disease.”

"Diabetes is one of our most costly diseases in both human and economic terms," Senator Collins said.  "Our legislation would help to reverse the economic and human toll of this disease by making sure that the federal government is leveraging all of its resources to ensure that diabetes patients are receiving the highest quality of care possible."

Specifically, the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission will help improve the quality of diabetes care by:

  • Identifying gaps where new approaches are needed to improve diabetes care
  • Eliminating duplication and conflicting efforts and assisting in coordination of all federal agencies
  • Leveraging the significant federal investment in research by evaluating best practices and other resources and tools for diabetes health care professionals and patients
  • Evaluating the utilization and data collection mechanisms of existing programs
  • Providing guidance on diabetes clinical care to maximize the effectiveness of our strong federal investment on diabetes research

Nearly 26 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes and another 79 million have pre-diabetes, a condition that is known to progress to diabetes without early intervention. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that if current trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050.

Diabetes is also one of the most expensive chronic diseases and costs the American health care system billions of dollars each year. According to the CDC, the medical costs for a person with type 2 diabetes is $9,677 per year and $14,856 per year for someone with type 1 diabetes. Overall, one in every 10 health care dollars and one in every three Medicare dollars is spent on patients with the disease.

As co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Shaheen and Collins have been strong advocates for families and individuals struggling with diabetes. They have introduced legislation to enhance research on gestational diabetes and have been leaders in supporting the Special Diabetes Program and the artificial pancreas, a device that could improve the lives of millions of Americans living with diabetes.