Senator Scott Champions PREVENT DIABETES Act During Minority Health Month

WASHINGTON — In conjunction with today’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on telehealth services, U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.-12) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.-01), introduced the PREVENT DIABETES Act. The legislation works to increase access to the Medicare DiabetesPrevention Program (MDPP) Expanded Model by allowing CDC-recognized virtual suppliers to participate in the program.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is a higher prevalence of diabetes within minority populations. Diabetes affects 16.4% of Black adults, 14.9.% percent of Asian adults, and 14.7.% of Latino adults – compared to 11.9.% of white adults. To help combat these disparities, the PREVENT DIABETES Act would provide access to virtual programs under the MDPP to help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

“Too many South Carolinians in vulnerable communities are struggling to manage diabetes,” said Senator Scott. “Our bill aims to expand access to life-saving healthcare options by opening the door to virtual suppliers. We can and must ensure everyone in the Palmetto State—regardless of race, background, or zip code—has the support they deserve to manage their healthcare needs.”  

“As the father of a Type 1 diabetic, I know how important consistent and reliable care is for patients’ health. This legislation will save lives by expanding access to virtual diabetes prevention programs and help to address racial health disparities among Black and Latino communities, which face higher rates of diabetes,” said Senator Warner. 

“It is often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  This is certainly the case with patients who are at high risk for developing diabetes,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “Through enhanced education, seniors will be empowered with tools they can use to optimize their health, avoid costly complications, and enjoy a better quality of life. This commonsense legislation will facilitate improved patient outcomes and save taxpayer money.” 

“Tens of millions of Americans live with either diabetes or prediabetes,” said Rep. DeGette, Co-Chair of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus. “Taking on diabetes requires a comprehensive approach to stopping type 2 diabetes before its onset. Our bill makes CDC-recognized diabetes prevention programs more accessible to Medicare beneficiaries at risk of diabetes, particularly those in rural areas and others who may not be able to attend an in-person diabetes prevention program. With a growing number of patients opting for virtual care, our PREVENTDIABETES Act will help more Americans learn about how they can avoid this disease.” 


The MDPP Expanded Model leverages evidence-based interventions to preventthe full onset of type 2 diabetes in at-risk Medicare beneficiaries. Unfortunately, the existing MDPP Expanded Model is only available through in-person sessions, making it more difficult for individuals in rural or medically underserved areas to participate in the program. 

In October 2019, Senators Scott and Warner wrote to then-U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging him to expand the program by administrative action. The senators wrote another letter in April of 2020, requesting that beneficiaries be allowed to access the program via a virtual platform during the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS temporarily allowed individuals to access the program via a virtual platform, but this administrative change still excludes a number of providers and does not ensure long-term access to a virtual benefit. 

As part of his efforts to craft a framework of solutions, Senator Scott introduced the PREVENT DIABETES Act in 2020, reintroducing the bipartisan, bicameral legislation in 2021.  

Full text of the bill is available here.