Three major diabetes-related advocacy organizations have released statements in opposition to the federal budget proposed by President Donald Trump. JDRF, the American Diabetes Association, and the Endocrine Society all expressed concern that proposed cuts to the budgets of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will greatly impact diabetes research and Type 2 diabetes prevention programs.
In a statement on JDRF’s Facebook page for advocacy efforts, Cynthia Rice, the organization’s senior vice president for advocacy said the proposed cuts to NIH funding was “bad news for any family of a loved one that suffers from a disease. You cannot overstate the NIH’s vital role in supporting life-changing research. Because of the longstanding bipartisan investment in NIH’s work, we have life-changing therapies allowing many more Americans with type 1 diabetes (T1D) to live longer, healthier lives, and we’re many steps closer to a cure.”
The Endocrine Society warned that “the President’s proposal to slash $7.16 billion, or more than a fifth, of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) budget, and $1.2 billion from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would hinder progress toward needed medical treatments and advances in public health and disease prevention.”
The budget, which calls for a more than 20 percent reduction in funding for the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is for fiscal year 2018. The Endocrine Society warned, however, that the impact of such a steep cut could last for much longer: “Because NIH funds most research projects over the course of multiple years, such a large funding drop could prevent the agency from awarding any grants for deserving research projects in the coming fiscal year.”
(The Endocrine Society is made up of research scientists and medical professionals who work on hormone-related conditions, including Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.)
The American Diabetes Association statement also highlighted the impact of proposed NIH cuts, but focused more on how proposed cuts to the CDC budget could hurt efforts to curb Type 2 diabetes: “The Trump administration’s proposed budget…fails to provide adequate resources for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Diabetes Translation (DDT), which works to reduce the preventable burden of diabetes by translating research into practice through community programs across the country. DDT also administers the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), a critical, evidence-based program shown to reduce health care costs and to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The administration’s proposal to consolidate funding for CDC’s diabetes programs in a pool with an array of other chronic health conditions will not provide adequate resources to meaningfully combat any of these public health problems individually, much less collectively.”
Many in Congress have already said that President Trump’s budget, like the budget proposals of past presidents, has little chance of passing. Presidents often use their proposed budgets as statements to show what their priorities are. The clearest trends in Mr. Trump’s budget proposal is an increase in defense spending and a decrease in spending on social welfare programs.
Of course, sometimes cutting social spending programs end up having unexpected consequences. Cuts in diabetes prevention programs may prove costly in the future if Type 2 diabetes rates continue to rise. Already people with diabetes account for one-fifth of the annual U.S. health care expenditure and one-third of Medicare expenditures, or $600 billion a year, according to an estimate by the American Diabetes Association.
Insulin Nation will track levels of medical research and treatment funding in federal budget proposals in the coming months.
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