Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), co-chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, announced that the Special Diabetes Program Reauthorization Act of 2023 passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee by a 20-1 vote. This bipartisan legislation would reauthorize and strengthen vital Type 1 diabetes research happening at the National Institutes of Health and renew critical treatment, education, and prevention programs for at-risk populations, specifically Native American and Alaska Native communities, who experience Type 2 diabetes at nearly three times the national average.
For more than 25 years, the Special Diabetes Program – comprised of the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) – has delivered meaningful resources and research breakthroughs for those with Type 1 diabetes and also for Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Without an extension, both programs are at risk of expiring at the end of the fiscal year. The bill would fund both components at $170 million for fiscal year 2024 and fiscal year 2025, in addition to sustaining funding at the comparable level through December 31, 2025.
“For more than 25 years, the Special Diabetes Program, comprised of the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research, and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, has delivered meaningful resources and research breakthroughs, for those with type 1 diabetes, as well as for Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Together, these programs have become the nation's most strategic effort to combat diabetes and its complications,” said Senator Collins. “Without an extension, both programs are set to expire at the end of this fiscal year. Congress has reauthorized the Special Diabetes Program with bipartisan support numerous times since its inception in 1997. Yet funding has remained flat since fiscal year 2004. During this time, the cost of research has increased, as has the size of the population and the cost of medical care. For this reason, our bill would give a modest increase in funding, the first increase in 20 years.”
“I am glad to see this increased investment in the Special Diabetes Program clear this pivotal committee hurdle,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “Congress must do everything in our power to ensure the 37 million Americans living with diabetes receive the best treatment possible while we work to find a cure. Increased investments in the Special Diabetes Program will help us to better treat, prevent and ultimately cure diabetes. This vital program is responsible for groundbreaking discoveries that have helped the millions of Americans living with or at-risk of developing diabetes, and with continued investments, we can truly put an end to this deadly, chronic disease.”
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 Special Diabetes Program Reauthorization Act of 2023 is endorsed by The National Indian Health Board, The Endocrine Society, The American Diabetes Association, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
As co-chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Senators Collins has worked to increase awareness of the threats posed by diabetes, invest in research, and improve access to treatment options. The senator has led efforts in Congress to ensure continued support for the Special Diabetes Program. Last month, Senator Collins led a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership emphasizing the importance of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) that was signed by a total of 60 Senators.