Skip to content

Shaheen, Collins Lead Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Pushing to Reauthorize Special Diabetes Program

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, led a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership emphasizing the importance of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) that was signed by a group of 60 Senators. Without action in Congress this year, funding for the SDP is set to expire on September 30th.

“Approximately one in four health care dollars and one in three Medicare dollars are spent treating people with diabetes. Diabetes cost our nation $327 billion in 2017,” the Senators wrote. “Medical expenditures for individuals diagnosed with diabetes are roughly 2.3 times higher than expenditures for those without the disease. Overall, the economic costs of diabetes, adjusted for inflation, increased by 26 percent from 2012 to 2017, and these costs are expected to increase as the number of people with diabetes continues to grow.”

“The groundbreaking discoveries made possible by this program are improving the lives of the over 133 million Americans living with or at-risk of developing diabetes, while also greatly reducing the long-term health care expenditures related to its complications,” the Senators continued. “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.”

The full letter can be read here.

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; 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.

More than 37 million Americans live with diabetes, including an estimated one in every three seniors. The disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, claiming over 100,000 lives in 2021.

As co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Shaheen and Collins have led action in the U.S. Senate to advance priorities that will lower the costs of insulin, invest in treatment and prioritize diabetes research. They recently introduced their bipartisan legislation, the Improving Needed Safeguards for Users of Lifesaving Insulin Now (INSULIN) Act of 2023,  which would comprehensively address the skyrocketing costs of insulin, removing barriers to care and making it more accessible for millions more Americans. In March, Shaheen and Collins commended drug manufacturers Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi’s actions to lower their list prices for their insulin products.