Last night Congress took an important step toward COVID-19 management and recovery, addressing health disparities and funding crucial diabetes research programs. The diabetes community has been disproportionately affected by this pandemic, and the American Diabetes Association® (ADA) is pleased that Americans with diabetes will soon see some relief during these difficult and extraordinary times. Although there’s still much more to be done to support those facing a heightened risk during this unprecedented public health and economic crisis – including ensuring continuity of health insurance coverage and that prescription drugs are affordable for all who need them – the passage of this package represents critical progress.
The COVID-19 relief and government funding package includes:
- More than $60 million above fiscal year 2020 appropriations for diabetes research in fiscal year 2021.
- A three-year extension of the Special Diabetes Program and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians through the end of fiscal year 2023.
- $22.4 billion in testing and contact tracing funds sent directly to states, including $2.5 billion in grants targeted to medically underserved areas and communities of color. This model is similar to the ADA-endorsed TRACE Act introduced by Rep. Bobby (D-IL) and Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
- $8.75 billion for CDC COVID-19 vaccine distribution and infrastructure, including $300 million targeted to high-risk and medically underserved areas and communities of color.
- Tax credits for employers to reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19.
- Protection of patients from surprise medical bills.
“Our work is far from done,” said Tracey D. Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the ADA. “It is the hope of the ADA that in the New Year Congress will do more to support Americans with diabetes and other chronic conditions as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.” Most importantly, Congress should:
- Make sure that Americans who have lost work and their employer-sponsored health insurance during the COVID-19 crisis can maintain access to affordable health insurance coverage through, for example, COBRA and Affordable Care Act financial support proposed in other House-passed COVID-19 relief bills.
- Eliminate or significantly reduce cost-sharing for insulin and other drugs in Medicare during the public health emergency period.
- Better protect people with diabetes and other chronic conditions by requiring employers to provide adequate paid leave to self-quarantine while sick or when facing possible exposure to COVID-19 at work.
We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the administration to protect Americans with diabetes from the severe financial and health consequences of COVID-19 in the New Year.
Every day more than 4,000 people are newly diagnosed with diabetes in America. Nearly 115 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes and are striving to manage their lives while living with the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For nearly 80 years the ADA has been driving discovery and research to treat, manage and prevent diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. We help people with diabetes thrive by fighting for their rights and developing programs, advocacy and education designed to improve their quality of life. Diabetes has brought us together. What we do next will make us Connected for Life. To learn more or to get involved, visit us at diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).