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Shaheen, Collins Lead Push to Ensure Continued Support for Special Diabetes Program

**Letter is cosigned by a bipartisan group of 74 Senators** 

Copy of the signed letter available here

(Washington, D.C.) — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, coauthored a letter to Senate leadership recognizing the importance of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) that was signed by 74 bipartisan Senators. 

“The groundbreaking discoveries made possible by this program are already improving care for the more than 29 million Americans with diabetes. They have the potential not only to improve health outcomes for individuals with diabetes but also to reduce long-term health expenditures from costly complications,” the Senators wrote in a letter to McConnell and Reid. “Further investment in the Special Diabetes Program is essential to continue vital large-scale trials, plan next steps for research programs, and most effectively allocate research resources—all of which play an important part in helping to better treat, prevent, and ultimately cure type 1 diabetes.”

In addition to the human toll, diabetes cost the United States $245 billion in 2012, and it has been estimated that the number of Americans living with the disease will double and the related health care costs will nearly triple by 2035. More than one in five health care dollars and one in three Medicare dollars are currently spent on care for people with diabetes. Fortunately, the Special Diabetes Program is advancing research to cure, treat, and prevent type 1 diabetes. It is also helping to prevent and treat diabetes in the American Indian and Alaska Native community, while yielding a strong return on investment.

A number of notable developments can be attributed to the Special Diabetes Program, including progress on an artificial pancreas system, which will reduce costly and burdensome type 1 diabetes complications and improve quality of life for those with the disease; discovery that intensive blood glucose control can significantly reduce the onset of impaired kidney function; and other promising research. The program will expire next year if not reauthorized by Congress.

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 at a rate of 2.8 times the national average.

The letter was signed by the following Senators:

Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Al Franken (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), John Thune (R-SD), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John Barrasso (R-WY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), John Hoeven (R-ND), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), John Boozman (R-AR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Tom Carper (D-DE), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA).