A Hero for Diabetes Research

Senator Susan Collins has been a champion of those living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes for decades. Since founding the Senate Diabetes Caucus in 1997, diabetes research funding has tripled to more than $1 billion. 

Senator Collins is working across party lines to reduce the cost of insulin

In July, Senator Collins introduced a bipartisan bill, the Insulin Price Reduction Act to help reverse more than a decade of insulin price hikes, rewarding manufacturers that return pricing to pre-2006 levels. Unlike legislation currently in the works in Augusta, this bill would provide real savings for all diabetics, not just those with good health insurance. 

Last December, Senator Collins fought to enact a new law that will help prevent insulin manufacturers from gaming the system and blocking lower-priced competitors from coming to market.

Senator Collins has secured increased research funding

She has worked closely with the JDRF, the American Diabetes Association, and the National Indian Health Board to extend and increase funding for two programs - one at the National Institutes of Health focused on type 1 research and the other focusing on type 2 prevention and treatment programs, specifically targeting American Indians and Alaska Natives, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These programs have been repeatedly extended, with the most recent five-year extension passing last year.

Senator Collins also pushed for FDA approval of artificial pancreas technology. Ten years after chairing a committee on this life-changing technology, the FDA approved artificial pancreas technology in 2016.

Aaron Kowalski of JDRF said: “We are grateful to Senator Collins for her support in making this milestone achievement possible. Senator Susan Collins played a key role in Congress to ensure funding for the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and also played a leading role in ensuring FDA made artificial pancreas (AP) technologies a priority.”

Senator Collins has fought to expand coverage of diabetes technology

Senator Collins sponsored legislation in 1999 to require Medicare to cover insulin pumps for those with type 1 diabetes. Today, insulin infusion pumps and supplies are covered for Medicare patients.

She also authored the bipartisan Medicare CGM Access Act in 2014 to require Medicare coverage of continuous glucose monitors for patients with insulin-dependent diabetes. Advancements in this technology have greatly improved diabetes management for type 1 diabetics, preventing serious and deadly complications for older Mainers.

Two years ago, Senator Collins helped push the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to support the use of smartphone apps that work in tandem with continuous glucose monitors. This change has made it easier for diabetics to share their glucose data, alerts and alarms with caretakers and healthcare providers.

Last year, Senator Collins authored bipartisan legislation, the Expanding Access to Diabetes Self-Management Act to expand self-management training sessions for Medicare patients. These sessions help Medicare patients improve general care for their diabetes.