Year in Review: Federal Commitment to Diabetes Prevention Falters in 2005 as Diabetes Epidemic Grows

Congress to Adjourn by Making First-Ever Reduction to Effective CDC

Diabetes Prevention Program; Research at NIH Also Cut

Dec 22, 2005, 00:00 ET from American Diabetes Association

    ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The fiscal year 2006
 appropriations bill Congress is expected to pass today contains cuts to
 critical diabetes prevention efforts at the Centers for Disease Control and
 Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to the
 American Diabetes Association (ADA). The CDC's Division of Diabetes
 Translation -- which works with local communities to help those suffering from
 diabetes better control the disease and those at risk for diabetes prevent or
 delay its onset -- is funded at $300,000 less than the previous fiscal year's
 budget level.  This is the first time the Division of Diabetes Translation has
 been cut, and it comes on the heels of a newly released CDC study that found
 that diabetes has risen by over 14 percent in the last two years.  The CDC
 estimates that 20.8 million Americans -- 7 percent of the U.S. population --
 now have diabetes, up from 18.2 million in 2003.  As part of the FY06 Labor,
 Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Act, Congress also
 slashed funding for the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney
 Diseases (NIDDK), an NIH research division.  NIDDK will be funded at $9
 million less than last year.
     The budget cuts cap a year in which the federal commitment to diabetes
 prevention lagged behind the increase in diabetes prevalence. This week,
 Congress also is set to make substantive changes to Medicaid, which will make
 it much more difficult for beneficiaries with diabetes to access the critical
 care services, supplies, and medication they need to control the disease.
 Additionally, Congress will adjourn without passing stem cell research
 legislation that would expand and accelerate the research that holds much
 promise for a cure and better prevention treatment options for diabetes.   The
 Association is a strong supporter of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act
 (S.471/H.R. 810), which earlier this year passed the U.S. House of
 Representatives with broad bipartisan support and currently awaits a vote in
 the U.S. Senate. The Association had hoped the Senate would send the bill to
 the President this year, but now urges the Senate to consider it early next
     "The 20.8 million Americans with diabetes -- and the millions more who
 care for them and are touched by the disease -- deserve better from our
 government," said Robert A. Rizza, MD, President of the American Diabetes
 Association. "Instead of increasing our investment in prevention research
 efforts, Congress has taken the extraordinary step of cutting CDC and NIH
 funding. Instead of making it easier for people with diabetes to access life-
 saving health coverage, Congress is set to approve changes to Medicaid that
 will do significant harm to beneficiaries with diabetes. Instead of finally
 passing stem cell legislation that will accelerate the search for better
 treatments and a cure for diabetes, Congress has opted for inaction."
     The CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation (DDT) runs state-based Diabetes
 Prevention and Control Programs, which take medical research -- such as that
 sponsored by NIH -- and translates it into practices and programs that can be
 used in local communities.  These programs help those currently suffering from
 diabetes better control and manage the disease and also help those at risk for
 diabetes prevent or delay its onset. Unfortunately, current funding levels
 only allow the DDT to provide full support -- implementation of awareness and
 education programs -- in 28 states. Because of the decreased funding, the DDT
 will only be able to conduct surveillance programs in 22 states. While the
 conference report containing funding for CDC included a minimal .05 percent
 increase over FY05 for the DDT -- because of a one percent across the board
 cut in non-defense discretionary spending included in the Defense
 Appropriations Act -- the program will receive $63.1 million in FY06, down
 from $63.4 million in FY05.
     The ADA has also been a strong advocate for efforts that help to ensure
 that Americans with diabetes have access to health care that enables them to
 properly manage and control the disease.  Having access to preventive care,
 more intensive diabetes management, and diabetes tools helps prevent the
 serious complications associated with diabetes, while simultaneously saving
 the U.S. health care system billions of dollars in long-term costs.
 Consequently, the Association has fought cuts and changes to Medicaid that
 would leave patients without the tools and supplies they need. The changes to
 Medicaid contained in the budget reconciliation will dramatically weaken the
 health coverage of Medicaid beneficiaries.
     "It is increasingly vital that we match the rise in diabetes prevalence
 with a commitment to diabetes research and prevention," said Dr. Rizza. "This
 year, the federal response not only failed to keep up with the growing
 diabetes epidemic, but in fact took a few critical steps back.  The American
 Diabetes Association urges Congress and the Administration to resolve in 2006
 to act forcefully to improve the federal investment in diabetes research,
 prevention, and care."
     Diabetes is one of this nation's most prevalent, debilitating, deadly and
 costly diseases. The CDC recently estimated that 20.8 million Americans live
 with diabetes, meaning that there are approximately 50,115 people living with
 diabetes in every Congressional District. One-third of diabetes instances are
 undiagnosed. The cost of diabetes in America in 2002 was at least $132
     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 Information from both these sources is available in
 English and Spanish.

SOURCE American Diabetes Association