The American Diabetes Association (ADA) applauds the US Congress for passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The act includes many vital investments in our economy that will provide essential economic stimulus while benefiting the health and well being of people with chronic illnesses like diabetes. Funding in this act will help address the staggering $174 billion that diabetes costs our country every year.

"As one of the nearly 24 million people with diabetes in the United States, I commend Congress for swiftly passing this important legislation," said George Huntley, American Diabetes Association Chairman of the Board. "Diabetes is serious — it is among the leading causes of death by disease in the United States. Expanding research, encouraging preventative health and wellness programs, and protecting the Medicaid program are wise investments that will both help to stimulate our economy and have a major impact for the millions of people with chronic diseases such as diabetes."

The Act provides $10 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) including $8.2 billion for research; $1 billion for prevention and wellness programs; nearly $87 billion in support for state Medicaid programs; and $19 billion for Health Information Technology (HIT).

The $10 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for biomedical research and construction of research facilities is essential to finding a cure for diabetes and, until then, making progress on important treatment and prevention programs. At the same time, this investment will both create and sustain jobs essential to the recovery of our ailing economy.

With nearly six million people unaware that they have diabetes and another 57 million Americans with pre-diabetes, the Association is encouraged by the $1 billion in funding for prevention and wellness initiatives contained in this bill. Preventive health and wellness programs will go a long way to help control this serious and costly disease. Additionally, with 11,000 jobs in state and local health departments lost in 2008 and an additional 10,000 vacancies expected in the coming year, these funds would help to restore lost jobs and prevent the additional vacancies that are currently projected.

Inclusion of $87 billion to aid State Medicaid programs will help over a million people at risk of losing their Medicaid benefits. Many Medicaid beneficiaries have or are at risk for diabetes and depend on this safety net to cover their diabetes supplies and services to properly manage their disease. Diabetes can result in severe complications — including heart attack, stroke, blindness, amputation and kidney disease — that result in significant costs to the health care system and are often preventable. At the same time, increasing federal funding of Medicaid will help generate new jobs, wages, and business activity.

Source: Marketwire