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Bi-partisan bill introduced to reauthorize special diabetes program for Indians!

March 8, 2010

Just a few days ago, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) introduced a bill to reauthorize a special diabetes program for Indians (SDPI) for another five years. Nearly one in five American Indians and Alaska Natives has diabetes and it is a leading cause of illness and death. I’ve heard the words “diabetes” and “epidemic” used in the same sentence in reference to Indian Country more times than I can count since coming to work at FCNL.

The proposed legislation, S. 3058, would also increase funding from $150 million per year to $200 million per year for the SDPI. This would be an important step in the right direction of providing increased funding for Indian health care, which currently lags far behind the health care most people in this country experience.

Another thing that makes this bill exciting is that it was introduced with a very bipartisan set of consponsors, including 8 Democrats and 8 Republicans. According to the National Indian Health Board press release, “The SDPI supported programs have resulted in a decrease of 13% in the mean blood sugar level (AIC), which translates to a 40% reduction in diabetes-complications.

Please consider writing to your senators asking them to co-sponsor this bill. You can also write your representative regarding the corresponding House bill.

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