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Politico: "Cash sought to prevent diabetes"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In 2010 Sen. Franken fought to include the Diabetes Prevention Program in the Affordable Care Act. The Program, modeled on the successful Minnesota programs that show thatmore than half of new Type 2 Diabetes cases can be avoided by weight loss of just 11 to 15 pounds.

This morning, Politico writes that the National Diabetes Prevention Program, which was included in the ACA, has not yet been funded. But that if if it is implimented the program can save billions of dollars.

A third of Medicare dollars is spent on people with diabetes, according to a 2007 Mathematica Policy Research study.

"It's a gateway disease," Mawby said. "People don't start paying attention until the complications set in."

United Health Group and the YMCA have partnered to get the National Diabetes Prevention Program up and running but are looking for more public investment to scale it up throughout the country. So far, the 16-week behavior modification program for pre-diabetics is running at 500 sites in 23 states, plus the District of Columbia.

"Here's the good news: This works," said Deneen Vojta, United Health Group's senior vice president of health reform and modernization.

Based on a very successful clinical trial conducted by the National Institutes of Health, the prevention program had a 58 percent success rate among all adults and did even better among seniors: Seventy-one percent of those older than 65 managed to prevent or significantly delay the onset of diabetes.

But the study sat on a shelf for about a decade before it finally began to be implemented.

Vojta gives credit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for dusting off the study, and to Sens. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) for writing it into the Affordable Care Act. The funding situation remains a problem, though.

Read the whole article here.

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