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Health | Opinion
Sen. Dorgan: Congress must act quickly on Indian diabetes funds

"The “lame- duck” session of Congress has a lot of important work to do in a very short time. Much of that work involves very high-profile issues. Facing up to the need to reduce the deficit; deciding whether to extend tax cuts now scheduled to expire and, if so, for whom; preventing a sharp cut in the rates doctors are paid for treating Medicare patients; and passing the Defense Authorization and Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bills are just a few examples.

But there is another issue that doesn’t get enough attention that needs to be on the congressional “must do” list: reauthorizing the Special Diabetes Program.

Without the assurance that the program will be funded next year, life-saving research and crucial programs for American Indians will begin to wind down and then close their doors. Renewing it needs to be a top priority for Congress in the “lame-duck” session.

Diabetes is a full-blown epidemic. It affects more than 24 million adults and children in the U.S., about 34,000 of them North Dakotans. That means more than 6.4 percent of our state’s population has been diagnosed with diabetes. Many suffer from serious diabetes complications, and many others are debilitated and even killed by it.

It is a disease that is growing at an alarming pace. Diabetes rates are four times what they were just 30 years ago. At that pace, experts project that one of every three Americans will have the disease by 2050. "

Get the Story:
Sen. Byron Dorgan: Congress must renew diabetes program (The Grand Forks Herald 12/5)

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