Statement on Secretary Sebelius’ Report

Alexandria,
November 11, 2009

The Health and Human Services report issued today, "Preventing and Treating Diabetes: Health Insurance Reform and Diabetes in America," during American Diabetes Month, explains the crucial need for health reform for people with and at risk for diabetes.

With nearly 24 million children and adults living with diabetes in the United States and another 57 million at risk, the status quo has become unbearable. Diabetes costs this country an estimated $174 billion a year. It is an epidemic that leads to devastating complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputation and kidney disease. It is time for reform that moves our system away from one that will pay for a costly amputation – but not the means to prevent it – towards one that provides the necessary tools to manage and prevent the disease and its complications. Health reform will give people with diabetes, and those at risk for diabetes, access to the coverage and care necessary to prevent complications and, in many cases, prevent onset of diabetes, while at the same time lowering the overall economic impact of diabetes on the health care system.

Health reform will end discrimination against people with diabetes by prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums to people with diabetes. It will make health care more affordable by eliminating annual and lifetime caps on benefits, limiting out-of-pocket expenses, and providing subsidies to those who otherwise could not afford adequate health insurance.

The American Diabetes Association is very pleased with this report and agrees with is premise, which is that health reform is a critical step in stopping diabetes. It is time to bring parity and access to quality health care to all people with or at risk for diabetes. The health of all Americans is depending in it.

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.