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% of the U.S. population. The federal government supports important diabetes research at the National Institutes of Health to the tune of $150 million a year. That funding will dry up unless Congress acts soon.
For New York Congressman Tom Reed, finding a cure for diabetes is personal.
His son has type 1 diabetes. Reed says he was diagnosed at age 4. Now he’s 18.
“My wife, God bless her, up at 2:00, 3:00 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. He’s backing a bill, which would preserve critical funding for diabetes research at the National Institutes of Health.
“Millions of Americans are affected by this,” he said.
Federal funding for the research program is set to expire in September.
Meghan Riley, with the American Diabetes Association, says the money supports important research.
“They’re looking for enhanced treatments, they’re looking for a cure.”
The bill would actually increase federal funding to the program for the first time since 2004. Riley said it would be money well spent.
“Diabetes is our most costly chronic disease at $372 billion a year,” Riley said.
“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 said.
He says he’s optimistic Congress will come together to pass the bill before the money runs out.