Senators Collins, Shaheen, & Patriots Linebacker Dont’a Hightower Call on Congress to Tackle Diabetes

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Washington, D.C.—This morning, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, joined with Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower to urge Congress to pass legislation to stop diabetes. They were also joined by patient advocates with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, representatives from the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and NFL players who are a part of the ADA’s “Team Tackle.”  

“Since I founded the Senate Diabetes Caucus in 1997, funding for diabetes research has more than tripled,” said Senator Collins.  “The 2016 omnibus spending bill passed late last year continues this progress with an overall $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, the largest since 2003, but there is still much work to be done.  I have called on my colleagues to maintain our strong commitment to diabetes research in the 2017 spending bill, and Senator Shaheen and I are determined to require Medicare to cover Continuous Glucose Monitors, just as many private insurance companies already do.  Today’s investments will yield cures and therapies for patients tomorrow.”

“Congress needs to do its part to stop diabetes,” said Senator Shaheen. “For all of us who gathered in the Capitol today, diabetes is personal. It’s great to have Dont’a Hightower and everyone on Team Tackle, on my team as we remind every member of Congress that diabetes doesn’t only destroy lives but also threatens to overwhelm the federal budget and bankrupt our entire healthcare system. Together, we can reach our shared goal of developing the tools and therapies to prevent type 2 from occurring and find a cure for type 1.”

Diabetes is one of the most costly diseases to the health system, costing the American health care system billions of dollars annually.  According to the Center for Disease Control, the estimated annual total cost of diabetes is $245 billion.

Last month, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, Senators Collins and Shaheen led a bipartisan letter, signed by 30 Senators, urging Congress to support the three priorities that the Senate Diabetes Caucus shares with the ADA: 

  • Appropriate funding for research at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  • Full support for the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.
  • And support and promote the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program at CDC.

Earlier this year, they re-introduced the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Care Act to establish a national commission of health care experts to advance diabetes care.