U.S. Senate: Renew the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) for Two Years!
On March 26, 2015, the U.S. House approved a two-year extension of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), fully funded at the current funding level of $150 million, as part of the ‘Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015,’ (H.R. 2). The U.S. Senate is now set to consider and approve their version of this legislative vehicle, when they return to session on Monday, April 13. With a two-year renewal, SDP-funded researchers will be able to continue promising clinical trials that are leading to better treatments, therapies and ultimately a cure for type 1 diabetes. If approved, the new funding for the SDP would run through September 30, 2017, while the current SDP would expire on September 30, 2015, or the end of the U.S. Government’s fiscal year. We appreciate all that Congress is doing to help turn Type One into Type None! Please take time to ask your Senators to support a two-year renewal of the SDP, and while you’re here, please thank your Representative for his or her vote in support of H.R. 2, including a two-year renewal of the SDP! Thank you to all our advocates from JDRF Advocacy for calling upon your federal lawmakers – and letting them know just how important this program is to you, and to the future of all those with type 1 diabetes.
Previous Congressional Support for the SDP
The 113th Congress:
On March 31, 2014, the U.S. Senate approved a two-year extension of the SDP, fully funded at $150 million, as part of the ‘Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014′ (H.R. 4302), or SGR / ‘Doc Fix’ package. The U.S. House of Representatives had previously approved H.R. 4302 on March 27, 2014, sending it over to the Senate for consideration. The President signed the legislation into law [P.L. 113-93] on April 1, 2014. With a one-year renewal, SDP-funded researchers were able to continue their important work, and JDRF Advocacy was thankful to Congress for recognizing the critical nature of a renewal.
In addition, a bipartisan Special Diabetes Program support letter was circulated in the fall of 2013 by Congressional Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), Tom Reed (R-NY) and Xavier Becerra (D-CA), and JDRF Advocates helped drive home the importance of the program with their Members. Advocates from around the country asked their Representative and Senators to sign-on to this important SDP support letter, and they did so in record numbers. The final letter saw 339 House Members (more than 75% of the body) and 76 Senators (also more than 75% of the body) sign-on. For perspective, in 2012, 272 House Members and 72 Senators signed similar SDP support letters circulated by the Caucus Co-Chairs. Thanks to these leaders and to advocates from all over the type 1 diabetes community, the SDP renewal effort always enjoys strong bipartisan support.
The 112th Congress:
JDRF Advocacy worked hard to help secure a one-year renewal of the SDP that was included in the ‘American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012’ (or ‘fiscal cliff’) legislation, which passed at the end of the Congress. Many Members of Congress from both parties and on both sides of the Capitol helped us to pass this important renewal of the SDP during the last Congress, fully funded at $150 million per year, in order for ground-breaking research to continue, and for critical advancements to be made.
What is the Special Diabetes Program (SDP)?
In recognition of an alarming trend, Congress formed the Diabetes Research Working Group in 1997, which reported serious limitations in diabetes research – for type 1 diabetes (T1D) in particular – largely due to inadequate funding. In light of the working group’s report, Congress created the SDP, a program made up of two parts: one to advance T1D research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the other to fund treatment, education, and prevention programs for American Indian and Alaska Native populations, who are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes.
Real Progress, Real Results: Since its inception, the SDP has demonstrated tangible results. The program has enabled scientists to make significant advances in cure therapies, prevention studies and treatment improvements (including the Artificial Pancreas Project and groundbreaking advances in vision improvement among people with diabetic eye disease), and is an essential component of federal investment in diabetes research. The SDP is funded at $150 million per year, and is currently operational until September 2015, with the one-year renewal put in place in 2013. However, multiple-year funding must be established in the future to continue large-scale trials, proactively plan next steps to maximize research opportunities, and to most effectively allocate research dollars without interruption.
Renew the SDP
Renewal of the SDP remains JDRF’s top federal legislative priority. This program has enjoyed strong bipartisan support from Congress since its inception, it has proven itself to be worthy of federal investment as it is improving the lives of those who have diabetes, and it will help reduce healthcare costs for our country in the long-term. This critical program provides nearly 35% of the publicly-funded type 1 diabetes research at NIH. Without a timely, and fully-funded, renewal of the program, clinical trials will slow down or halt altogether, and JDRF will not be able to fill the gap.
To learn more about the importance of renewing the SDP, please read our SDP brochure and our individual fact sheets below:
What Can I Do?
Sign-up to be an advocate if you aren’t already, and please take action when you see our alerts: such as, RIGHT NOW(!) you can 1) ask the Senate to support a two-year renewal of the SDP; and 2) thank the House for its’ support of a two-year renewal of the SDP. If you would like others to learn more about the SDP, please share this page with your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers, and link to our pages on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Also, make sure to follow along with the renewal efforts, using the hashtag #RenewSDP. For further updates, please check back with us often at this page. Thank you for all that you do for your loved ones, and for JDRF Advocacy. Your voice will help us make a difference in the fight to help turn Type One into Type None.