Peters Reintroduces Bipartisan Bill to Help Reduce Health Care Costs and Prevent Diabetes

One in Ten Michigan Adults Live with Diabetes, the Most Expensive Chronic Health Condition in the Country

DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to lower health care costs and improve health outcomes for Americans at risk of developing diabetes. The Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act, which was introduced with U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), would extend Medicare coverage for medical nutrition therapy services to individuals with pre-diabetes and risk factors for developing type-2 diabetes. Under current law, Medicare will only cover medical nutrition therapy services for individuals already diagnosed with diabetes or renal disease. Peters previously introduced this bill in 2019.

“We must work to lower health care costs and provide Michiganders with every opportunity to live longer, healthier lives without breaking the bank,” said Senator Peters. “By investing in diabetes prevention efforts, we can reduce Medicare costs and save taxpayer dollars in the long run. I’m proud to reintroduce this critical bipartisan bill to do just that by expanding vital health care services for at-risk Michiganders. I’ll keep fighting to ensure Michiganders have access to quality, affordable health care.”

“With one of the highest rates of adult diabetes in the nation and a considerable population at risk for the disease, West Virginia is no stranger to its costs and challenges,” said Senator Capito. “For these reasons, it is essential we focus on how we can prevent more West Virginians and Americans from developing type-2 diabetes in the first place. This bill will do just that, and I am proud to partner with Senator Peters on taking an important step to achieve this goal.”

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 $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 34 million Americans have diabetes and approximately 88 million adults have prediabetes. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports approximately 870,000, or one in every ten, Michiganders over the age of 18 are living with diabetes. 

“The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is concerned with the rising rates of diabetes and prediabetes. We support the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act, which would help seniors with prediabetes lower their risk for the disease through provision of medical nutrition therapy,” said Lisa Murdock, Chief Advocacy Officer for the American Diabetes Association. “Eighty-eight million Americans have prediabetes and are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  Congress can help make a difference in the precipitous increase of diabetes – the nation’s most costly chronic disease – by taking steps like this one.”

“As the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics commends U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Shelley Moore Capito for reintroducing the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act,”?said registered dietitian nutritionist Kevin L. Sauer, 2021-2022 President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Passage of this bill would provide coverage for Medicare beneficiaries to obtain medical nutrition therapy from registered dietitian nutritionists, which would help millions of Americans with prediabetes avoid developing Type 2 diabetes each year.”

“Not only is medical nutrition therapy a critical service for the millions of Americans with diabetes but it also has the potential to provide tremendous benefits to the 88 million with prediabetes,” said Hannah Martin, MPH, RDN, Co-Chair of the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance. “The Diabetes Advocacy Alliance has long supported the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act and we commend Senators Peters and Capito for their leadership on this issue in the Senate.”

“The Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics applauds Senator Peters for championing this important legislation,”?said Sara Harmon, MPH, RDN, president of the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.?“This bill would significantly improve health outcomes and reduce medical costs for approximately 2.6 million Michigan residents living with prediabetes and receiving little education on their condition. With successful intervention, a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes—and consequent complications—can be postponed indefinitely.” 

“The Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act is critical legislation that can help prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes in the rapidly growing Asian-American population, approximately 20% of whom have diabetes and an additional 32% of whom have prediabetes,”?said Nikki Nies, MS, RD, Chair of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Member Interest Group. “Coverage of medical nutrition therapy for prediabetes would be most important for the Asian American subgroups of Pacific Islanders, South Asians and Filipinos who have notably higher rates of diabetes and prediabetes.” 

“Approximately 11.4% African Americans have prediabetes and they are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic Whites,”?said Winona Bynum, RDN, PMP, CSM, Chair of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition Member Interest Group.?“Science continues to show that MNT, individualized to address medical, social, economic and cultural needs, will improve patients’ outcomes by delaying or preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes, thus reducing the health burden and economic costs to the individual and society. NOBIDAN wholeheartedly supports this bill to expand MNT coverage in Medicare to include prediabetes. Our country's economic viability and health depend on it.” 

Peters is working to reduce health care costs and increase accessibility for Michiganders and Americans across the country. Earlier this year, Peters supported President Biden’s extension of the Affordable Care Act special enrollment period to ensure more Michiganders had time to secure vital coverage. Peters previously introduced legislation to expand telehealth accessibility to help Michiganders receive health care – especially in rural areas and amid the COVID-19 public health crisis. In 2019, Peters helped advance legislation that would lower prescription drug costs and hold drug companies accountable for overcharging for prescription drugs.