SOURCE: American Diabetes Association

American Diabetes Association

February 13, 2012 16:58 ET

UPDATE: Statement From L. Hunter Limbaugh, Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association, Regarding the Obama Administration's Fiscal Year 2013 Budget

ALEXANDRIA, VA--(Marketwire - Feb 13, 2012) - The American Diabetes Association (Association) is concerned that funding for core discretionary and mandatory health programs included in the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Budget falls far short of the investment needed to stop the diabetes epidemic.

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and 79 million have prediabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The total annual cost of diabetes and its complications, including undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes and gestational diabetes was an estimated $218 billion in 2007, and will grow exponentially unless we act. Although we appreciate our country's difficult fiscal situation, now is not the time to decrease funding for, or make structural changes to, programs that provide a lifeline to individuals living with, or at risk for diabetes.

The Association is concerned that the Administration's Budget does not provide adequate resources to continue the nation's investment in diabetes prevention and research at National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), both of which are critically important to addressing the diabetes epidemic.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the NIH is leading the way in supporting researchers across the country who are engaged in studies that will move us closer to a cure and better treatments for diabetes. The Association is concerned that the decreased level of funding that the President has proposed for the NIDDK will slow or halt promising research work that would allow individuals with the disease to live healthier, more productive lives.

The Association is also disappointed that the President's FY 2013 Budget does not provide adequate funding for valuable diabetes prevention efforts at the Division of Diabetes Translation (DDT) at the CDC. Additionally, the President's Budget includes a proposal to combine some chronic disease programs -- including the DDT -- at CDC. While the Association welcomes more coordination at CDC, in this challenging budget environment we caution that without substantial resources, it is imprudent to move forward with chronic disease consolidation at the agency. The DDT's ability to help people avoid diabetes and its devastating complications in every state and territory would be severely reduced under the proposal to consolidate chronic disease programs included in the Budget.

In addition, the Association is concerned about provisions in the Budget that affect important mandatory programs. The President's Budget includes harmful cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, programs that provide essential access to care for more than 14 million children and adults with diabetes. The Association is particularly alarmed by proposals to shift additional costs to beneficiaries and states and restructure certain Medicaid and Medicare services because these kinds of drastic changes will limit access for low-income and older Americans and lead to a deterioration in state Medicaid programs, Medicare and public health.

Included in the President's FY 2013 budget are proposals to increase cost-sharing for many Medicare beneficiaries. The Association notes that in 2006, one in four Medicare beneficiaries spent 30 percent or more of annual income on health expenses and nearly seven in ten Medicare enrollees spent 10 percent of their income on health expenses. Considering that half of all Medicare beneficiaries have incomes of $22,500 of less in 2012,1 it's clear that Medicare beneficiaries already pay their fair share and additional cost burdens must not be placed on those who are already spending a substantial percentage of their income on health expenses.

The Association strongly supports funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Fund) which provides an unprecedented opportunity to invest in public health efforts to prevent and detect costly and life-threatening diseases like diabetes. We are disappointed to see the Fund has been cut in the FY 2013 budget and view it as a dangerous step backwards in our progress to prevent disease, promote wellness and reduce healthcare costs.

The 105 million children and adults with diabetes and prediabetes are counting on these programs to help treat, prevent, and cure diabetes and its complications. As the FY 2013 budget and appropriations process begins, we look forward to working with the Administration and Members of Congress to Stop Diabetes® and combat the explosive growth in the financial and human tolls of diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

1 Urban Institute tabulations of DYNASIM for the Kaiser Family Foundation. See also: Kaiser Family Foundation. Projecting Income and Assets: What Might the Future Hold for the Next Generation of Medicare Beneficiaries? June 2011 [http://www.kff.org/medicare/8172.cfm].

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