WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the country and affects nearly 10 percent of the population.
The federal government supports diabetes research at the National Institutes of Health to the tune of $150 million a year, but that funding will dry up unless Congress acts soon.
For Congressman Tom Reed, R-New York, the fight for a cure is personal. His 18-year-old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was just 4 years old.
“My wife, God bless her, up at 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock poking his fingers in the morning to make sure his blood sugars were not life-threatening,” Reed said.
Reed is the co-chair of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus and he’s backing a bill that would not only preserve funding for the research program, which is set to expire in September, but it would also increase the federal contribution for the first time since 2004.
Meghan Riley with the American Diabetes Association says it would be money well spent.
“They’re looking for enhanced treatments. They’re looking for a cure,” she said. “Diabetes is our most costly chronic disease at $372 billion a year.”
”If you can cure diabetes or you can make it a chronic condition where the health impacts are limited, you reduce the overall healthcare costs for America, so it’s a win-win for all of America,” Reed added.
Reed said he’s optimistic Congress will come together to pass the bill before the money runs out.