Senators Collins, Shaheen’s Bipartisan Legislation to Establish National Diabetes Commission Heads to President’s Desk

Washington, D.C. - The National Clinical Care Commission Act recently passed Congress unanimously and will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The bipartisan legislation was authored 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. The legislation 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 education, care delivery, and patient outcomes.

“Families across our country know all too well the human and economic toll associated with diabetes. If present trends continue, one in three adults will have this disease in 2050,” said Senator Collins. “By bringing together public and private experts in diabetes research, our legislation would help scientists develop a strategic plan for improving care and change the trajectory of this devastating disease.”

“Diabetes is personal for many of us, and establishing a National Clinical Care Commission will play an important role in improving health outcomes for the millions of Americans with diabetes,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure that the federal government is equipped to streamline and leverage investments in diabetes education, research, prevention and treatment. We must continue to push forward as we seek to reverse the human and economic toll of this disease and, hopefully, discover a cure.”

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

  • Identifying gaps where new approaches are needed to improve diabetes care and management;
  • 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 and Prevention (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 ten 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, Senators Collins and Shaheen have worked together to increase awareness of the threats posed by diabetes, invest in research, and improve access to treatment options.