Senator Schumer proposes diabetes prevention act

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Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has proposed a legislative package and program initiatives that expand Medicaid coverage for screening and early treatment measures that fights childhood obesity and improves coverage for essential care measures, including education and medical exams.

“It saves money. It's a lot cheaper to do the prevention programs than treat people who have full-fledged diabetes. So it's sort of a win-win and we have not focused on it as a society, we're trying to change that,” Schumer said.

His legislation would guarantee Medicaid coverage of diabetes screenings for at-risk patients, requiring Medicaid coverage of a package of diabetes services for patients and provide Medicaid patients with diabetes-related services for free by ensuring they would not be subject to cost-sharing requirements.

The senator warned that unless serious measures are taken, we'll suffer a healthcare and financial crisis.

“If you need some kind of preventative measure or things that can keep the diabetes at a low level, Medicare and Medicaid won't pay for them. But then God forbid when it gets worse, and you may need a leg amputated, they pay the full cost. It just doesn't make any sense,” he said

Schumer also said that he hoped his plan is included in this year's budget, so the money will be available in 2009.