ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Diabetes Association (ADA) announced that securing sufficient funding for diabetes research and prevention efforts will be its top priority for the incoming Congress, after the 109th Congress adjourned without passing a new budget. The decision by the 109th Congress to adjourn earlier this month without passing a budget for Fiscal Year 2007 means that the Bush Administration's proposed $11 million cut to diabetes research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and further cuts to prevention and treatment efforts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were not enacted. However, maintaining Fiscal Year 2006 funding levels also means that the federal investment in fighting diabetes continues to fall far short of what's necessary to reverse the national surge in diabetes prevalence and related complications. ADA has urged Congress to increase diabetes research at NIH by $92 million - or 5 percent - and diabetes treatment and prevention efforts at CDC by $20.8 million, or one dollar for every American with diabetes. "Congress still needs to step up to the plate and recognize the tremendous national need to support diabetes research and prevention efforts," said Larry Deeb, MD, President-Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association. "Diabetes is growing rapidly in the United States, but the Administration and the 109th Congress has failed to invest in exciting research and effective treatment and prevention efforts. To stem the tide of the diabetes epidemic, the new Congress must make the commitment to increase federal funding for efforts that can lead toward a cure and widespread prevention." Recent studies have raised the need for action from the Administration and Congress to address the startling growth of diabetes. While nearly 21 million children and adults in the U.S. live with diabetes today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that if present trends continue, one in three Americans and one in two minorities born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime. In 2002, one in 10 healthcare dollars went towards diabetes care. The cost of diabetes in America in 2002 was at least $132 billion. Throughout the year, ADA volunteers urged their elected officials to confront the diabetes epidemic. In addition to increasing funding for NIH and CDC, ADA urged Congress to pass legislation to expand federally-funded embryonic stem cell research and to help ensure affordable, quality diabetes health coverage. In May, Association volunteers played a critical role in the defeat in the U.S. Senate of the "Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization Act" (S.1955), legislation that would have eliminated diabetes coverage guarantees for medications, supplies, and education vital to managing the disease. ADA continued to oppose attempts to reconsider similar legislation before the end of session that would have the effect of limiting crucial coverage protections for people with diabetes. ADA volunteers were also at the forefront of the effort to pass, in the U.S. Senate, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810). Top researchers, including those at the ADA, believe embryonic stem cell research offers great hope for a cure and better treatments for diabetes, and ADA hopes similar legislation is reconsidered in the new Congress. "Diabetes is the great public health crisis of the 21st century," said Darlene Cain, Chair of the American Diabetes Association. "There are bipartisan solutions to this grave situation, but we need to see more leadership from Washington to see them implemented. We look forward to working with the Administration and the new Congress to make fighting diabetes a priority in 2007." The American Diabetes Association is the nation's leading voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. The Association's advocacy efforts include helping to combat discrimination against people with diabetes; advocating for the increase of federal diabetes research and programs; and improved access to, and quality of, healthcare for people with diabetes. The Association's mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Founded in 1940, the Association provides service to hundreds of communities across the country. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit http://www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.
SOURCE American Diabetes Association