WASHINGTON — Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA) introduced H.R. 3917 to extend funding for the Indian Health Service’s Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). The bill will fund the successful grant program at $150 million per year for two years.

“Native Country as a whole is affected by a higher rate of diabetes than any other population,” said Congressman Mullin. “Over the years, SDPI has proven to be effective in curbing the rate of diabetes in our native population and reducing potentially costly treatments paid by Medicare later on. Prevention is the key to staying healthy and I am grateful for the men and women who operate SDPI grant programs, and their continued efforts to ensure our native communities receive the preventative care they need to stay healthy.”

"The Special Diabetes Program for Indians has a proven track record of addressing the diabetes epidemic and improving health outcomes in Indian Country” said Congressman Ruiz. “It has halted obesity and diabetes rates in young people for 10 years and dramatically reduced diabetes-related vision loss and blindness. I am proud to work with Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin to reauthorize this program and ensure it has the funding needed to continue serving hundreds of thousands of patients each year. We can and we must pass this bill."

The Special Diabetes Program for Indians was established by Congress in 1997 in order to specifically address the diabetes epidemic in the Native American population. According to the IHS, more than 780,000 patients are served each year under the program, which boasts high rates of effectiveness for reducing the rate of diabetes in Indian Country.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in approximately 2 out of every 3 Native Americans with kidney failure, diabetes is the cause. Between 1996 and 2013, the rate of kidney failure from diabetes in Native Americans dropped by 54 percent.

H.R. 3917 was introduced on Oct. 3, 2017.