Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) on Friday joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce two bills aimed at reauthorizing and increasing funding for two special diabetes research programs, the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research (SDP) and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDP-I). Both programs are set to expire on September 30th if action is not taken. The legislation would reauthorize both programs for five years and increase each program’s funding from $150 million to $200 million a year.
The bill to reauthorize SDP was introduced by Mullin and Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), and Tom Reed (R-NY). The bill to reauthorize SDP-I was introduced by Mullin, DeGette, O’Halleran, and Reed as well as Reps. Deb Haaland (D-NM), and Tom Cole (R-OK).
“SDP and SDP-I have helped improve lives for people who live with diabetes, especially for those with juvenile diabetes and the Native American population,” said Mullin. “By investing in research, we can find ways to prevent this disease and work towards finding a cure. Indian Country as a whole is affected by a higher rate than any other population. I am grateful for the men and women who operate the SDP and SDP-I programs to ensure our communities receive the preventative care they need to stay healthy.”
“Diabetes affects more Americans than cancer and AIDS, combined,” said DeGette. “One in 10 Americans have this disease, and one out of every four dollars that we spend on health care in this country is spent on treating people with diabetes. Right now, our best chance for finding a cure lies with the Special Diabetes Research Program that’s providing researchers the funding they need to find new ways to prevent and treat this disease. For the sake of our country’s health and economy, it is absolutely critical that we keep this program going until a cure is found.”
“Across Indian Country, limited access to preventative and primary health care has created a unique public health crisis that must be addressed. These communities are more than twice as likely to see diabetes diagnoses among adults,” said O’Halleran. “Since the passage of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, the rate of diabetes has declined and community health has improved. It is clear that this program works, and I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes and funds it for five years.”
“We care about people struggling with diabetes, and we will do everything we can to support research, treatment, and prevention efforts,” Reed said. “The Special Diabetes Programs has proven successful in delivering groundbreaking research in new treatment, technology and prevention services as well as the treatment and prevention of Type 2 diabetes for American Indians and Alaska Natives. We are pleased to see the overwhelming bipartisan support for this critical program.”
“Every family in this country deserves good health, but Native Americans continue to have the highest prevalence of diabetes, suffering at over two times the national average. With the reauthorization of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, we can continue prevention and treatment through IHS, Tribal, and Urban Indian health programs to improve the overall health for both adults and children,” said Haaland.
“For more than two decades, the Special Diabetes Program for Indians has served as a vital resource for the well-being of Native Americans. Especially since Native American populations are much more likely to suffer from diabetes than others across the nation, I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation to reauthorize funding for this important program to Indian Country,” said Cole.