CHARLESTON — U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) 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 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.
“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,” Senator Capito said, “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.”
“We must work to lower health care costs and provide Michiganders with every opportunity to live longer, healthier lives without breaking the bank,” Senator Peters said, “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.”
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. According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 232,336 people in West Virginia, or 16.2% of the adult population, have been diagnosed with diabetes.