ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Diabetes Association (ADA) announced its strong support today for the Affordable Insulin for the COVID-19 Emergency Act (H.R. 2179) and the Minority Diabetes Initiative Act (H.R. 2178), both introduced this week by Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif,-43). The ADA calls on all Members of Congress to co-sponsor both pieces of legislation. Currently, both bills have more than 30 cosponsors.
The Affordable Insulin for the COVID-19 Emergency Act would ensure that insulin-dependent Medicare beneficiaries are able to obtain their prescriptions for insulin and associated medical supplies with no copayments, coinsurance, deductibles or other cost-sharing for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. The bill would also ensure that Medicare beneficiaries are able to obtain a 90-day supply of insulin by mail without needing to go to a pharmacy.
The Minority Diabetes Initiative Act would provide grants to community-based organizations and non-profit health care providers for diabetes prevention, care and treatment programs in communities of color. The grants would support a variety of diabetes-related health services, including public education on diabetes prevention and control, routine health care for diabetes patients, eye care, foot care, and treatment for kidney disease and other complications of diabetes.
“The Affordable Insulin for the COVID-19 Emergency Act marks important progress toward protecting the diabetes community during this unprecedented public health and economic crisis,” said Tracey Brown, CEO of the ADA. “COVID-19 has taken an outsize toll on those with diabetes and other related chronic conditions, many of whom are seniors whose savings and sources of income have been hit especially hard by the pandemic’s economic repercussions. The assistance in this bill is urgently needed to allow our seniors to maintain access to life-sustaining medications, and to help ensure that no one who needs insulin is forced to go without due to financial difficulty.”
“In addition, although COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the systemic barriers to care that low-income Americans and people of color face, they existed long before the pandemic and will persist for long after without meaningful change. That’s why we’re thrilled to support the Minority Diabetes Initiative Act – a bill that would prioritize diabetes treatment and prevention in the communities facing a heightened risk, putting our health care system on a path toward health equity,” Brown said.
Not only is diabetes the most common and most expensive chronic condition in the U.S., diabetes rates are inversely related to income, and people of color are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes or other related underlying conditions as white Americans are. The ADA recently launched #HealthEquityNow, a national platform to ensure that all people living with diabetes, and the millions of underserved Americans who are at greatest risk for diabetes, have access to health resources they need not just to effectively treat the condition, but to prevent the onset in the first place. To learn more about #HealthEquityNow, visit diabetes.org/HealthEquityNow.