Peters introduces Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) recently introduced the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act to improve health outcomes for individuals at risk for diabetes and save long-term care costs for Medicare.

This bipartisan legislation will extend Medicare coverage for medical nutrition therapy services for Americans with pre-diabetes and risk factors for developing type-2 diabetes. Under current law, Medicare will only cover these services if an individual already has diabetes or renal disease.

“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan, fiscally-responsible legislation to provide Americans with prediabetes, or those at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, with medical nutrition therapy services,” said Peters. “These critical wellness services will improve beneficiaries’ nutrition and physical activity, while reducing health care costs and Medicare spending.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 30 million Americans or 9.3 percent of the population has diabetes. In addition, the CDC estimates approximately 86 million American adults about 30 percent of the population has pre-diabetes.

In 2014, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services estimated 10.4 percent of Michigan adults were diagnosed with diabetes (799,350) and 8.2 percent of Michigan adults reported being told they have prediabetes.

Approximately one in every three Medicare dollars is spent on diabetes a number that has increased considerably in previous years and could continue to increase without action. In 2012, the U.S. spent $322 billion on prediabetes and diabetes an increase of 48 percent from 2007. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has also demonstrated that $2.5 billion in hospitalization costs related to the treatment of diabetes or complications resulting from diabetes could be saved by providing seniors with appropriate primary care to prevent the onset of diabetes. There is significant evidence that medical nutrition therapy can prevent the onset of diabetes for at-risk individuals. Medical nutrition therapy could include an initial nutrition and lifestyle assessment, review of eating habits, one-on-one nutritional counseling, and follow-up visits to check on patients’ progress in managing their diet to prevent or manage their condition.