WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23) says a large number of lawmakers in Washington are throwing their support behind an effort to increase funding for an ongoing federal diabetes research and education program.
Diabetes has been a long-time focus for Reed, who is a recovering Type 2 diabetic and whose son has also been diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic. The area congressman serves along side Colorado Democrat Diana DeGette as the co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus. On Tuesday, Reed said they are introducing bipartisan legislation to continue funding what is known as the Special Diabetes Program for an additional five years, and increase its annual funding from $150 million to $200 million a year.
“Much of this $200 million a year goes to programs that obviously address the needs of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics overall, but in particular there is a sub component of the Special Diabetes Program specifically designated for Native Americans, which provides funding to Indian Health Services to take on the issue of Type 2 diabetes in our Native American populations across America,” Reed said.
Reed said that 378 members of the House have signed on in support of the increased funding and a letter of support has been sent to both Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Meanwhile, the cost of insulin for diabetic Americans continues to be on the rise, forcing some to make tough decisions on how to pay for insulin while also trying to make ends meet.
WRFA asked Reed if Congress is working on addressing the ongoing issue of expensive insulin, and he said that some work is underway to reign in the expensive cost of insulin and other prescription drugs.
“On the other side of the diabetes caucus, over the last year-and-a-half to two years, we have taken specific actions to highlight the cost of insulin and the ever increasing cost of insulin. If you look at the drug-pricing debate that is taking place on the hill right now in regards to biologic patent reforms, you will see that insulin is the cornerstone of that debate of overall drug prices in America,” Reed noted.
Reed also said that if anyone in the district is having difficulty getting insulin to treat diabetes, they can reach out to his office and he will help them out through a current program being offered by insulin manufacturers.
“If anyone out there is in need of insulin, [my office] will put them in contact with these manufacturers directly so they can deliver to some of them – at insulin costs no greater than $20, $25 of a supply that they need. That type of behavioral change is something I support and applaud and want to raise awareness of so we can do that instead of always looking toward a legislative tool. This is immediate. This is in existence today,” Reed said.
Congressman Tom Reed’s local office number in Jamestown is (716) 708-6369.
National headlines have recently taken on the issue of rising insulin costs, with some stories focusing on Americans having to go to Canada in order to get affordable insulin. Meanwhile, the attorney General of Kentucky announced this week his office will sue the nation’s three largest insulin providers due to the expensive costs.