Statement Regarding the FY 2012 House Budget Resolution
April 14, 2011
Our country faces a diabetes epidemic. There are nearly 26 million American children and adults living with diabetes and another 79 million with prediabetes, who live on the brink of developing this devastating disease. The American Diabetes Association strongly opposes current proposals included in the FY 2012 House budget resolution that take our country in exactly the wrong direction in our fight to stop diabetes. If passed, the resolution would lead to imprudent, drastic cuts in funding for vital diabetes research and prevention programs.
Cutting funding for diabetes research and prevention programs opens the door into a dark future of devastating complications of diabetes including blindness, amputation, kidney failure and heart disease. Diabetes, including undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes and gestational diabetes, cost our country $218 billion in 2007, and that number will continue to grow unless we act. The FY 2012 House budget resolution is alarming because it leads down a path of paying for preventable complications, not towards saving eyes, limbs and lives.
The Association opposes provisions to cut discretionary public health programs – including vital diabetes research and prevention programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These programs are essential to our nation’s response to this epidemic and vital to finding a cure and reducing the costs of preventable surgeries, amputations and dialysis. Proposed reductions will severely hamper diabetes efforts at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease at the NIH and the Division of Diabetes Translation at the CDC that help people avoid diabetes and its devastating complications and which will lead us to a cure.
The Association opposes the conversion of Medicaid into a block grant program. There is no evidence this provision will reduce costs, while at the same time maintaining quality healthcare access for low-income children and adults. To the contrary, those on Medicaid will be more likely to seek care in emergency room settings, which brings both higher costs and more pain due to the delay of preventative treatment. In addition, the budget resolution includes a proposal to privatize the Medicare program, which could shift additional health care costs to older and disabled Americans, many of who already live on fixed incomes.
Our country faces a difficult financial situation; however, cutting back on diabetes research and programs and weakening life-saving programs like Medicaid and Medicare is self defeating in terms of both cost and harm to vulnerable populations. This proposal will drastically affect the nearly 105 million Americans with diabetes and prediabetes, as well as taxpayers who will pay for costly and preventable complications. If this epidemic is left unaddressed, diabetes will overwhelm the healthcare system. Fortunately, we still have time to act to stop diabetes, and the time is now.
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. For the past 75 years, our mission has been to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.