More than 11 million seniors, or 26.9% of the Medicare population, have diabetes and half of all seniors over age 65 have pre-diabetes. In addition, one in every three Medicare dollars is spent on diabetes and its complications. Spending on Medicare beneficiaries with prediabetes and diabetes is estimated to be more than $2 trillion over the next 10 years, including $1.7 trillion in federal spending. Interventions targeted at preventing or delaying the onset of serious and debilitating illnesses like diabetes must be a national priority because diabetes is a costly and devastating disease that places people at high risk for severe complications and other chronic diseases. With access to appropriate intervention and information, diabetes can be prevented, even for those at the highest risk. As part of the AMA's Improving Health Outcomes initiative, the AMA is committing its resources, expertise, and reach to prevent type 2 diabetes and to improve outcomes for those suffering from this disease. As part of this initiative, the AMA is collaborating with the YMCA to increase physician referrals to its program, which is part of the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP).
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced S. 586, the "National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act," on February 26, 2015. H.R. 1192, the companion bill, was introduced in the House by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) on March 2, 2015. The legislation would create a Commission that will focus on improving diabetes care delivery, patient outcomes and cost effectiveness. The AMA joined the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and other groups in supporting this legislation.
On April 29, 2015, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) introduced the "Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act of 2015" (S. 1131/H.R. 2102), a bipartisan bill which would provide coverage for the National Diabetes Prevention Program under the Medicare program. The National Diabetes Prevention Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a public-private partnership that provides low-cost, evidence-based community programs to prevent diabetes. Providing Medicare coverage for the National Diabetes Prevention Program will help seniors avoid diabetes and other chronic illnesses. The AMA joined the American Diabetes Association and others from the medical community in expressing its support for this legislation.