ADA Legislative Recommendations for the 111th Congress: The 111th Congress is taking place as of this writing. With a new President and many new congressmen and senators in office there will be a concerted push by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to convince lawmakers to place a high priority on diabetes.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues the ADA believes to be important during this congressional cycle.
Research and Prevention
The ADA is lobbying for more than $23 million in additional funding for research and prevention projects as directed by the National Institute of Heath (NIH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). ADA acknowledges the difficulties associated with the current economic environment, but suggest that this increase is in direct proportion to the growth in new cases of the disease. Many of the proposed programs work at prevention on a local level. The ideas is that by spending funds on prevention there may be less need to spend money on future treatments.
Specific Research Using Stem Cells
Believing that stem cell research holds great promise for the potential cure of Type 1 and the improvement of Type 2 diabetes the ADA is urging congress to work toward greater funding of research related to the bioethical study of stem cells. The ADA has said, “Stem cell research allows scientists to better explore how to control and direct stem cells so they can grow into other cells, such as insulin-producing beta cells found in the pancreas.” Further, “The Association strongly supports legislation that would expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.”
Health Care Coverage
The ADA remains a strong proponent of meaningful health care coverage for those who live with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association indicates it will, “Oppose legislation that would it make it more difficult for individuals with diabetes to have the tools needed to manage the disease.” The opposite is also true as the ADA remains in strong support of any way the congress can exercise its role to enhance coverage for diabetics.
Maintain the Course on Medicaid
In tough economic times many in congress are asking for cuts in Medicaid. While the ADA may understand the need for fiscal diligence they also seem anxious to see congress to take a long-term approach to managed care. By denying existing diabetics the supplies they need for managed care it is the belief of the ADA that there will more significant costs in the long run related to vision loss, amputations and kidney failure among diabetics. The ADA mentions S. 755, which would be a powerful prevention step as a part of Medicaid. They believe that while there are costs involved in preventative medicine it may actually decrease the long-term financial burden.
Individuals who qualify for Medicare can take advantage of a “Welcome to Medicare” visit that allows specific screenings at no cost. This is provided within the first six months of sign up and can be very useful in defining issues of importance in long-term managed care including, but not limited to, diabetes. The ADA remains in strong support of this program.
The ADA is in support of legislation that would seek to help medical personnel, “Understand and reduce the incidence of gestational diabetes.” Studies point out that as many as eight out of every one hundred pregnant women will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Many of those women will eventually be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The hope is that by better understanding and treating gestational diabetes the better the odds are that it can either be avoided or it’s present and future complications minimized.