Bipartisan Diabetes Caucus Works to Increase Access for Artificial Pancreas Systems
Today, Congressional Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Tom Reed (R-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), signed by 214 Members of Congress, advocating for coverage of artificial pancreas (AP) systems.
"We care about ensuring people with diabetes have access to the technology which works best for them to help manage their complex disease," Rep. Reed said. "We feel there is no fair reason for government bureaucrats to delay coverage for diabetics when many private insurers already cover artificial pancreas systems for diabetics."
"When the Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever commercial version of an artificial pancreas system two years ago, it was a transformative moment for people with type 1 diabetes and a huge step forward for medicine," Rep. DeGette said. "We worked hard to bring the FDA to that point. Two years later, we're prepared to work just as hard to ensure that Medicare will cover the costs for patients who qualify for these systems. Medicare beneficiaries should have the same coverage for this breakthrough technology that they might have with private insurance."
"Medicare needs to be more forward looking and embrace innovative technologies that improve patient care and save money over the long term," Rep. DelBene said. "Artificial pancreas technology allows patients to better control their diabetes, avoid related complications, and stay healthier. It only makes sense that Medicare patients have access as well."
"I recently met with some folks in my district that showed me the benefits of artificial pancreas systems," Congresswoman Jenkins said. "I was amazed by the advancements in this technology and that is why I am joining my colleagues in asking CMS to modernize their policies to cover innovative diabetes technologies for Medicare beneficiaries."
"It is critically important Medicare beneficiaries have access to innovative technologies that allow those with diabetes to safely monitor their glucose levels and insulin dosing." said Rep. Brooks. "Access to artificial pancreas systems, which are already available in the private sector, should not be restricted from Medicare beneficiaries. Proper testing is key when managing a chronic condition like diabetes, and it is important Americans living with diabetes have access to these life-saving technologies."
AP systems are the newest wave of diabetes management technologies. They combine a continuous glucose monitor, an insulin pump and a smart algorithm which automatically dose and deliver insulin to a person with diabetes in real time without the need for user input.
The nation's 25 largest private insurers already cover the first generation of AP systems, but Medicare does not.