Washington, DC – Senator Susan Collins today chaired a hearing to examine the impact that juvenile diabetes has had on children and their families, the economic costs of caring for people with diabetes, and the promising breakthroughs in juvenile diabetes research that could lead to better treatments or a cure for the disease. Actress Mary Tyler Moore, Olympic swimmer Gary Hall, movie producer Doug Wick, and Dr. Allen Spiegel of the National Institutes for Health testified at today’s hearing. Six children, ages 4 to 13, also testified as Children’s Congress Delegates representing the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). A total of 150 Children’s Congress Delegates from across the country attended today’s hearing.
“Diabetes is a life-long condition that affects people of every age, race and nationality. It is the leading cause of kidney failure, blindness in adults, and amputations not related to injury. Moreover, it is estimated that diabetes accounts for more than $132 billion of our nation’s annual health care costs, and that health spending for people with diabetes is almost double what it would be if they did not have diabetes,” said Senator Collins. “These statistics are truly overwhelming. But what really motivated me to devote so much energy to this issue was meeting more and more people – like our delegates today and their families – whose lives have been forever changed by diabetes. That is why it is so important that you have all traveled to Washington today to tell your stories. You put human faces on all of the statistics. You will help us to focus on what Congress can do to help us better understand and ultimately conquer this terrible disease.”
The prepared statements of each of the witnesses are available on the Committee’s web site at: http://hsgac.senate.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Hearings.Detail&HearingID=250.
This is the third Children’s Congress hearing that Senator Collins has chaired. As the founder and Co-Chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Senator Collins is a leading Senate champion for the 16 million Americans with diabetes. Since Senator Collins founded the caucus, funding for diabetes research at the National Institutes for Health has more than tripled from $319 million in 1997 to more than a billion dollars last year. She has also introduced a number of important bills that were signed into law, which resulted in increased funding for diabetes research and to promote better health care for people with diabetes. Just last year, President Bush signed into law Senator Collins’ Pancreatic Islet Cell Transplantation Act. Senator Collins is a recipient of both the JDRF’s Congressional Leadership Award and the American Diabetes Association’s National Public Leadership Award.