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Senators Collins and Shaheen’s Bipartisan Legislation to Establish National Diabetes Commission Heads to Senate Floor

Washington, D.C. - Bipartisan legislation reintroduced by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, to establish a national commission of health care experts to advance diabetes care and prevention will be sent to the Senate floor after being unanimously passed today by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The National Clinical Care Commission Act would bring together public and private sector experts, clinical endocrinologists and other physicians, and representatives from the relevant federal agencies most involved in diabetes research and treatment to focus on improving diabetes care delivery and patient outcomes. The legislation has already been passed by the House of Representatives.

“Diabetes affects people of every age, race, and nationality, and the disease’s human and economic toll is devastating. If present trends continue, one in three adults will have diabetes in 2050,” said Senator Collins. “Our legislation would bring together public and private experts in diabetes research and treatments to develop a strategic plan for improving care for people with diabetes and help change the trajectory of this disease.”

“Millions of Americans and their families are affected by diabetes and experts predict that number will continue to grow,” said Senator Shaheen. “My legislation with Sen. Collins will ensure that the federal government is equipped to streamline and leverage investments in diabetes research, prevention, and treatment. Establishing a National Clinical Care Commission will set us on the right track to reverse the human and economic toll of this disease.”

Specifically, the National Clinical Care Commission Act 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; and
  • 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 the disease and another 79 million have pre-diabetes, a condition that is known to progress to diabetes without early intervention, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC estimates that if current trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, and can lead to many other chronic diseases and conditions, such as blindness and kidney failure. As one of the most expensive chronic diseases, diabetes costs the American health care system billions of dollars each year. Overall, one in every 10 health care dollars is spent on diabetes and its complications, and one in every three Medicare dollars is spent on the condition.

As co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Collins and Shaheen have worked together to increase awareness of the threats posed by diabetes, invest in research, and improve access to treatment options.

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