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Sen. Shaheen Urges More Investment in Diabetes Programs at D.C. Time in Range Coalition Forum

Longtime diabetes advocate and policymaker US Sen. Jeanne Shaheen attended and spoke at an event hosted by the Time in Range Coalition in Washington, D.C., that focused on ways to advance care for people with diabetes.

diaTribe’s Time in Range Coalition hosted a panel event “Time in Range: The Future of Diabetes Care Forum” in Washington, D.C., on May 7, 2023, that featured a surprise guest, US Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire and co-chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus. The event hosted some of the top diabetes leaders to discuss how to advance time in range.

At the Time in Range Coalition (TIRC) forum, Sen. Shaheen commented on her own personal relationship with diabetes.

“I came to this event because I have a granddaughter who has type 1 diabetes. I thought about how we have resources and insurance, but for all the people that don’t have resources, the ability to work in the system, I think about the challenges they face, and that’s another reason I’m here today,” she said.

Shaheen’s granddaughter Elle was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 8 and is the subject of “Elle & Coach: Diabetes, the Fight for my Daughter’s Life, and the Dog Who Changed Everything.” Her daughter, Stefany Shaheen, authored the book, which describes the challenges and beauty of parenting a child with type 1 diabetes. 

Shaheen, who has served in the Senate since 2009, is known for working in a bipartisan manner to increase awareness of the threats posed by diabetes. She also emphasized increasing investment in diabetes research to improve treatment options and expand access to care.

Shaheen and Senate Diabetes Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, have sponsored the Improving Needed Safeguards for Users of Lifesaving Insulin Now (INSULIN) Act of 2023. The legislation would address the costs of insulin by removing barriers to care and making it more accessible for millions more Americans, including limiting out-of-pocket costs and fostering competition that would lower costs. 

At the TIRC forum, Shaheen applauded drug manufacturers Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi for lowering their list prices for insulin. However, she expressed the need to enact federal legislation that lowers prices permanently.

Shaheen also emphasized the importance of reauthorizing the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), which is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2023, without action from Congress. Shaheen and Collins have issued a bipartisan letter to the Senate that requests support to reauthorize the program. 

The SDP consists of two components: the Special Statutory Funding Program for type 1 diabetes, which supports research to prevent, treat, and cure the condition and its complications. The other is the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, which supports diabetes treatment and prevention strategies for American Indian and Alaska Native populations who are disproportionately burdened with type 2 diabetes. 

“Sen. Shaheen has been a tireless advocate for millions of people with diabetes, making sure their voices are heard in Congress and their needs are represented in legislation,” said diaTribe CEO Jim Carroll. “We are glad to have allies like her in Washington as we at diaTribe work to improve the lives of people with diabetes through education and advocacy."