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With this series we will bring you the latest news in government and legislation. This week we cover a newly proposed NIH agency to research diabetes cures, telehealth expansion, and the fight for soda taxes in California.

For more news in diabetes advocacy and policy, check out our compiled news updates here.  


Biden proposes a new NIH research agency to help cure diabetes, among other American epidemics

In Biden’s first major address to Congress, he proposed a new biomedical research agency dedicated to developing new treatments for prevalent conditions including diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer. If approved, NIH would get $6.5 billion to develop cures to deadly diseases as part of the Advanced Research Project Authority for Health (ARPA-H). 

Why it matters: While there has been substantial research dedicated to type 1 and type 2 diabetes cures, this is the first time an American president has publicly committed to curing diabetes. Biden’s announcement gives visibility to the diabetes epidemic and if passed, his $6.5 billion proposal would go a long way in researching treatments for diabetes and other dangerous diseases. 


Telehealth could be permanently expanded if Brooks-Lasure is confirmed  

In Chiquita Brooks-Lasure signaled her commitment to permanently expanding telehealth access in her confirmation hearing to serve as the head of CMS. While questions still remain about how telehealth will be reimbursed, Brooks-Lasure will examine the role CMS has in expanding telehealth beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Why it matters: Access to telehealth helped people with diabetes maintain their healthcare during the pandemic. The temporary expansion of telehealth has made remote care more accessible but these benefits are set to end with the pandemic. CMS has the power to make telehealth expansion permanent which would increase access to healthcare for people with diabetes. 

What you can do: Look here for more information about what CMS can do to expand telehealth. Join diaTribe Change in advocating for permanent telehealth expansion. 


Big Soda creates a barrier to soda taxes in California

In 2018, soft drink companies lobbied a legislative deal that “bars California cities and counties from imposing taxes on sugary drinks.” Weeks ago, a measure that would have undone the soda tax ban was “shelved.” Big Soda’s lobbying power has made it difficult to pass soda tax legislation in California despite the efforts of policymakers and advocacy groups. 

Why it matters: Soda taxes aim to reduce the consumption of sugary beverages which are associated with increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. An estimated 46 percent (13 million) of California adults have prediabetes or undiagnosed diabetes and an additional 2.5 million have diagnosed diabetes. A soda tax in California would help curb sugary drink purchases in the state to decrease the prevalence of diabetes.

What you can do: Look here for more information on soda taxes in the US and how they can help prevent diabetes and obesity.