WASHINGTON, DC – During National Diabetes Month, U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs for individuals at risk for diabetes, while saving long-term costs for Medicare. Peters’ Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act – which he introduced with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) – would extend Medicare coverage for medical nutrition therapy services to Americans with pre-diabetes and risk factors for developing type-2 diabetes. Under current law, Medicare will only cover medical nutrition therapy services for individuals who have already been diagnosed with diabetes or renal disease.
Diabetes is the most expensive chronic health condition in the country, with approximately one in every four Medicare dollars spent on diabetes-related care. Research released by the American Diabetes Association found that the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes was almost $413 billion, including more than $306 billion in direct medical costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes and approximately 96 million adults have prediabetes. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports approximately 912,800 or 11 percent of Michiganders over the age of 18 are living with diabetes.
“Expanding access to this type of health care will provide more Americans with the opportunity live longer, healthier lives, and without breaking the bank,” said Senator Peters. “It’s also a commonsense way to help lower Medicare costs for all taxpayers in the long-run, and I’ll keep fighting to get it passed and signed into law.”
“Approximately 96 million Americans have prediabetes, putting them at elevated risk for developing type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. LaShawn McIver, Senior Vice President at the American Diabetes Association. “The American Diabetes Association supports the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act, which would provide access for medical nutrition therapy to seniors with prediabetes, helping them lower their risk for type 2 diabetes and its dangerous complications.”
“On behalf of the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, we support Senator Peters in reintroducing legislation to reduce health care costs and prevent diabetes,” said Past President of the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Heather Dover, MS, RD. “Passage of this bill will significantly improve health outcomes by expanding coverage for medical nutrition therapy services to individuals with pre-diabetes and risk factors for developing type-2 diabetes.”
“This important legislation would allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive coverage of medical nutrition therapy for prediabetes, helping millions of Americans receive the services they need and reducing the large numbers of people who newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes each year,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Lauri Wright, past President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. “The Academy commends U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Shelley Moore Capito for reintroducing the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act in the Senate.”
The Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act is supported by the American Diabetes Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists, the National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics, Latinos and Hispanics in Dietetics, National Kidney Foundation, Diabetes Leadership Council, Black Women’s Health Imperative, and Nutrition Member Interest Group.