Congresswoman Susan Davis Praises Decision to Cover Diabetes Prevention Under Medicare
Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) praised a decision by the Obama Administration to expand Medicare to cover diabetes prevention in seniors. The administrative action is modeled after Davis’s Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced the expansion as well as the results of clinical study showing these programs prevent diabetes and reduce health care costs.
“Covering these prevention programs under Medicare is a simple approach to preventing diabetes in seniors and saving lives,” said Davis. “By avoiding the health complications associated with diabetes we will see real savings in health care costs. This decision will immediately help seniors across the country live healthier lives.”
Secretary Burwell thanked Davis for her leadership on the issue, “Thanks to the dedication of these 17 pioneering YMCAs, and with support from our Department and our partners, like Senator Al Franken and Representative Susan Davis, this program demonstrates the value of investing in prevention and the potential for healthier communities. If we can prevent more diabetes cases before they start, we can help people live longer, fuller lives, and save money across the system.”
“Today’s certification that the Diabetes Prevention Program improves health care quality while reducing costs is a major milestone in the fight to expand coverage to Medicare,” Davis added. “It shouldn’t come as a surprise that preventing diabetes improves lives and cuts health care costs, but the Department’s findings that the program saved Medicare $2,650 per enrollee over a 15 month period should leave no doubt that now is the time to move forward.”
The DPP is a community-based approach to educating and encouraging individuals at risk for diabetes on how they can make lifestyle changes. Participants receive training in diet and exercise and how to modify their behavior. The DPP was created under the Affordable Care Act from legislation Davis first introduced in 2009.
Now the Department of Health and Human Services intends to expand the benefits of the DPP to Medicare beneficiaries, a plan modeled after Davis’s Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 million people 65 or older are prediabetic, putting them at risk of getting diabetes, as well as heart disease and stroke.