Diabetes Overview Page

Diabetes Overview

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Ashley Noble - Denver

Richard Cauchi -Denver

Updated November 2014

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the medical costs and associated costs of diabetes jumped to $245 billion in 2012, meaning that the diabetes toll on the economy has increased by more than 40 percent since 2007, according to a recent report from the American Diabetes Association. The 2007 figures were $116 billion for diabetes and the indirect costs (disability, work loss, premature mortality) were $58 billion*

State legislatures throughout the country are actively exploring policy options to deal with this growing problem. An estimated 26 million people in the United States—8.3 percent of the population—have diabetes, a serious and chronic condition. Of those, 25 percent do not yet know that they have the condition. In addition, an estimated 86* million U.S.. adults have pre-diabetes—an elevated blood sugar level that is not high enough to be classified as diabetes, but which greatly raises their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its complications.  Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.. It's complications, including heart disease, stroke, amputations, blindness and kidney disease, are both serious and expensive. The cost to treat an individual with diabetes is more than 200 percent higher than the cost to treat a non-diabetic. 

NCSL Publications & Newer Resources

2013: States Address the Costs of Diabetes | State Budget Survey Results. To assess how states are responding to the diabetes epidemic, NCSL conducted a 50-state analysis of appropriations for FY 2013. The analysis included a review of state budgets and related state budget documents that explicitly identified appropriations for diabetes programs. Read more about the survey results. Published by NCSL Jan. 2014.

2014: States Address the Costs of Diabetes - Coming Soon! 12/2014

2012: States Address the Cost of Diabetes: A 50-State Budget Survey for Fiscal Year 2012.  As a means to assess how states are responding to the diabetes epidemic, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) conducted a 50-state analysis of appropriations for fiscal year 2012. This analysis reviewed state budgets and related state budget documents that explicitly identified diabetes programmatic appropriations.

States Fight Diabetes - NCSL's April 2013 State Legislatures magazine highlighting state action to prevent and treat diabetes.

Chronic Cost of Diabetes - NCSL's April 2012 State Legislatures magazine highlights issues and challenges.

Diabetes Health Coverage: State Laws and Programs - This report covers all state diabetes mandates and minimum coverage requirements for state-regulated health insurance policies. Online edition updated in May 2011. [66 pages as PDF]

Diabetes self-monitorArchive: Diabetes State Legislation Overview - Many state legislatures considered diabetes related legislation between 2007 and 2012. This page contains information about legislative options to address diabetes considered or enacted during these sessions.

As of December  2013, there were at least 130 diabetes-related bills proposed across 20 states, territories, and D.C.

Disparities in Health by NCSL - African American, Hispanic, American Indian and Alaskan Na­tive adults are twice as likely as white adults to have diabetes. Other diabetes risk factors include being over age 45, overweight, inactive or having had gestational diabetes. Even those at highest risk benefit from prevention and treatment. Cutting calories to lose 5 percent to 7 percent of body weight and increasing physical activity—walking for 30 minutes five days per week—reduced diabetes onset by 58 percent in a major study. Click here to learn more about diabetes health disparities.

Women's Health - Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death among women ages 45-54 in the United States and a major cause of disability.  An estimated 9.1 million women have diabetes, but one-third of them are unaware of their illness.  

Gestational diabetes happens in a woman who develops diabetes during pregnancy. Poor control of gestational diabetes increases the chance for birth defects and other problems.  

LegisBrief - States Address Diabetes in Minority Populations.  This LegisBrief highlights actions of states and public-private partnerships to tackle type 1 and type 2 diabetes (June 2012).

Public Health Herald- Preventing and Controlling Diabetes
To address the increasing burden of diabetes, and disparities in health care coverage for the condition, CDC funds state-based diabetes prevention and control programs in all states, the District of Columbia, and eight territories. Several of these programs encourage Medicaid reimbursement for patients’ education on the self-management of diabetes (November 2011).

LegisBrief- State Approaches to Prevent and Control Diabetes
Diabetes accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. health care spending and is expected to become even more prevalent. State programs can help prevent the disease and improve its treatment (September 2011).

Report- 2011 Diabetes in State Budgets
This National Conference of State Legislatures report provides a 50-state survey of diabetes funding in the states and CDC funding for Diabetes Prevention and Control Programs (May 2011).

Report- Federal Health Reform Provisions Related to Diabetes
This National Conference of State Legislatures report provides an overview of the components of the Affordable Care Act that related to diabetes (May 2011).

Postcard - Diabetes Prevalence: County Level
This National Conference of State Legislatures postcard provides the latest national data released and available by the CDC in 2010 about county level diabetes prevalence (July 2010).

Public Health Herald - Topic of the Quarter: Diabetes
Diabetes, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, accounts for more than 200,000 deaths and also causes blindness, kidney failure, and lower-limb amputations among other ailments. Treating diabetes costs $116 billion annually—more than 5 percent of total health care spending—with a further $58 billion in indirect economic costs. Diabetes cases are often preventable (Fall 2008).

Postcard - Women and Diabetes
This National Conference of State Legislatures postcard provides some brief statistics about women and diabetes, costs, and control and prevention (March 2008).

LegisBrief - Diabetes:  Rising Rates, Disability and Death (October 2006).

NCSL Resources

In the News



  • USPSTF Screen Everyone 45 and Older for Abnormal Glucose (MedScape Oct. 6, 2014)

    In a major new announcement, "adults aged 45 and older and those who are younger with risk factors should be screened for abnormal blood glucose and type 2 diabetes," according to new draft guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

          The draft recommendation statement and draft evidence review are now open for public comment through November 3 here. The USPSTF, an independent panel of experts under the auspices of the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, makes evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications. The new statement is an update to the 2008 USPSTF diabetes screening guideline, which targeted individuals with high blood pressure. Now, the new focus is on identifying people with impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).

      According to the document, 2012 national data suggest that approximately 86 million Americans have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose, and about 8 million have undiagnosed diabetes. In 2012, about 9% of the US population had diabetes.

NOTE: NCSL provides links to other Web sites from time to time for information purposes only. Providing these links does not necessarily indicate NCSL's support or endorsement of the site.

* Latest available population figures are from CDC "National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014." The official federal costs statistics are from 2007 data,  All other figures are more recent, as noted.


This site is made possible with support from Novo Nordisk and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).



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