Federal Advocacy

Advocating for diabetes prevention


More than 11 million seniors, or 26.9% of the Medicare population, have diabetes, and half of all seniors over age 65 have prediabetes. Spending on Medicare beneficiaries with prediabetes and diabetes is estimated to cost more than $2 trillion over the next 10 years, including $1.7 trillion in federal spending. Preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes must be a national priority as the disease is costly and places people at high risk for severe complications and chronic diseases.

Explore how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the AMA are working together to prevent type 2 diabetes.

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. This includes collaborations with the YMCA of the USA and the CDC to increase physician screening and testing of patients for prediabetes and referrals of at-risk patients to National Diabetes Prevention Programs (NDPPs).

Key legislation the AMA has supported to prevent diabetes

National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act (S.586): Introduced on Feb. 26, 2015, by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

The legislation creates 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. A companion bill (H.R.1192) was introduced in the House by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) on March 2, 2015.

Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act of 2015 (S. 1131/H.R. 2102): Introduced by Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) on April 29, 2015.

This bipartisan bill provides coverage for the NDPP under the Medicare program. The NDPP 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 NDPP helps seniors prevent 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.

Medicare takes steps toward authorizing coverage for NDPP: Announced by HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell in March 2016.

This announcement stated that Medicare was taking steps toward authorizing coverage for the NDPP for beneficiaries at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Tested through an innovation grant authorized under the Affordable Care Act, this will be the first prevention program ever to meet the cost savings requirements to gain national coverage. Draft regulations to implement the coverage plans are expected later in 2016.

Explore the AMA’s legislative work advocating for diabetes prevention.

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The CDC and the AMA have created a 3-step toolkit that health care teams can use to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

The AMA and CDC recommend physicians:

  1. Screen patients for prediabetes using the CDC Prediabetes Screening Test (or the American Diabetes Association Diabetes Risk Test).
  2. Test patients for prediabetes using one of 3 blood tests.
  3. Act to help prevent diabetes by referring patients to a diabetes prevention program.