“Catalyst to Better Diabetes Care Act of 2007″

How is it that 2007 has come and gone, and we, the Diabetes Community, have hardly heard a thing about this major piece of proposed legislation to “combat diabetes”? Or was it just me who had her head stuck in the sand?

Bill Anyway I’ve been digging around for the last week or so, and have gathered all the info I could find on this sweeping bill, which is backed by a bi-partisan group of legislators as well as the American Diabetes Association. It was introduced in August by Congressman Zack Space (D-Ohio), whose son has Type 1 diabetes.

If you read over the “5 major areas” the bill addresses in the press release, you might trip over the ambiguous language like I did: the bill aims to “work toward a solution on the problem identified by the CDC …” and so forth. I wanted to know what was meant exactly by “work toward,” so I queried the ADA. Although I didn’t find the bill listed at the ADA’s “Advocacy Action Center,” their spokes-folks tell me they do endorse the bill, and this is what it hopes to accomplish:

  • H.R. 3544 calls for the establishment of a collaboration across government agencies as well as
    interested outside entities with the purpose of reducing the amount of undiagnosed seniors focusing on screening methods, outreach programs, and other systems.
  • The bill would establish an advisory group consisting of representatives of the public and private sector to examine and make recommendations on best practices of employee wellness and disease
    management programs with a report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services
    within one year.
  • This legislation would create a biennial National Diabetes Report Card that would include preventative care practices, quality of care, risk factors, outcomes, etc.
  • Additionally it would improve the collection of vital statistics for diabetes and other chronic diseases with a focus on birth and death certificates.
  • Lastly, the bill would require a study reflecting the impact of diabetes on the practice of medicine, as well as analyze the level of diabetes education required for those in the medical field.

According to Congressman Space’s office, this is first-of-its-kind proposed legislation.

We are still gathering cosponsors of the bill. Presently, we have 53 from both sides of the aisle. We are hopeful that the Committee on Energy and Commerce will act on the legislation this year,” Congressman Space writes to me.

If it passes, how much will this bill’s provisions cost, and where will the money come from?

We have not received any official cost estimate at present. The bill is simply an authorizing bill, and would therefore be subject to annual appropriations,” Space states.

OK, so if we’re on board, what can individuals do to support it?

Contact your Congressman. The Democratic process was created to allow ordinary citizens to reach out to Members of Congress when they see an issue or piece of legislation of importance.”



9 Responses

  1. Jo
    Jo February 4, 2008 at 7:50 am | | Reply

    Amy .. you know dang well the money will come from the tax payers!!

    Let’s hope they don’t stick in a bill that’s so full of earmarks and immediate troop withdrawl so it can get passed.

  2. carol
    carol February 4, 2008 at 8:28 am | | Reply

    Most of the points in the bill leave me with a “so what?” feeling. I think it’s pretty well known that diabetes is a problem of epidemic proportions in the US. We don’t need more stats and studies on things we already know; we need more action to make treatment affordable and to find a cure.

  3. CALpumper
    CALpumper February 4, 2008 at 11:16 am | | Reply

    I agree with Carol. Plus, once again, just because there are only close to 1 million with Type 1, why are we once again Not included?!

  4. d2
    d2 February 4, 2008 at 2:00 pm | | Reply

    Dear Amy,
    Thanks for the assembly of this information. The article has five different bullet points. My comments are in the same order as the article. First point.
    Remove “seniors”. The goal should be for the timely diagnosis of diabetes for all age groups. Second point. Remove “employee”. Diabetes is a condition that affects our entire society. Missing are infants,students and individuals prior to employment, leave from employment, re-employment and at the conclusion of employment. Wellness and disease management is a broad societal issue. Third point. The data to be measured is critical. This needs discussion. Point four. How would information be collected. One needs to give serious consideration as to how the government currently collects data on diabetes. I have not reviewed all the various city, county, state and federal levels, however, there is a reliance of the data that is collected via phone surveys. Point five. Define “medical field”. Is this primary, and secondary physicians, diabetic educators, eye doctors, foot doctors, dentists, nurses, etc. Just take the time to list the various individuals that we interact with regarding our care and management of this stuck-up condition. New Point. Life is a 24 hour a day, seven days a week for the entire 364 days in a year with no vacation. There are 168 hours in a week. How many hours are availble to reach your physician? Trips to the emergency room at the nearest hospital are not fun. The issue is who does one turn during non-office hours for help. This is especially critical for young type 1 diabetics and diabetics living alone. Hope the comments help. Thanks again for the research work.

  5. Lisa
    Lisa February 4, 2008 at 4:46 pm | | Reply

    I agree with Carol. We already know the epidemic exists, now we have to find the cure!

  6. Bennet
    Bennet February 4, 2008 at 5:55 pm | | Reply

    I’ll pass. Sounds like a hot air production process.

    The points are:
    1)collaboration (government speak for a study with lot of input and gibberish for output)
    2)advisory group will make a report
    3)biennial Report Card
    4) collect information (that can be reported)
    5)lastly (wait for it…) A STUDY! Wohoo (you thought it was going to be another report but it is not it is a a study!)

    Here is the kicker – all those reports and studies will be part of the over all legislative lawyer enrichment act of 2008.

  7. Lauren
    Lauren February 5, 2008 at 9:53 pm | | Reply

    Can we PLEASE see a bill or some pieces of legislation aimed at getting insurance companies to stop punishing the chronically ill (e.g. T1 diabetics)?

    As a patient, I have been nothing but demoralized and frustrated to the point of tears by my dealings with my insurance company. For many months, INSULIN wasn’t even covered by my plan, because it’s not considered “generic.” My test strips are still not covered and it will be a cold day in H-E-double-hockey-sticks before Omnipod costs can even be applied to my deductible. I recently tried to switch plans to a health-savings-account compatible plan, and found that I could not be underwritten due to my preexisting condition. I saw opening an HSA as a way to pay for my test strips and finally be able to afford pumping. Now it turns out that avenue is closed to me too. It’s all just incredible. Before my dx I was a bionically healthy twentysomething; now I’m uninsurable, a “major medical risk.” Nice to hear my life summed up as such by my insurance company’s underwriting department.

    I’m a med student and when I am ready to start practicing I won’t take insurance. Doctors and patients both have to pry themselves loose from the stranglehold of insurance companies if we expect the system to ever improve.

  8. Leah
    Leah February 7, 2008 at 4:23 pm | | Reply

    I agree. Sounds like a bunch of bologna to me. More money to study something we already know.

  9. Leah
    Leah February 7, 2008 at 4:23 pm | | Reply

    I agree. Sounds like a bunch of bologna to me. More money to study something we already know.

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