Albany - Assemblyman José Rivera (Bronx), the Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy is fighting to keep diabetes programs separate in the State budget. The Governor's proposed State budget combines funding for obesity and diabetes prevention programs.
Rivera stated, "I support both diabetes and obesity prevention efforts to help reduce the terrible burden these health problems are taking on our State, especially in low-income urban and rural communities. As it is we are not spending enough money on these problems and I am afraid the governor's plan to combine funding for these programs will make it harder to provide the necessary funding to address the $8 billion in medical costs for diabetes alone."
The Governor's budget includes $1.7 million for diabetes programming. However, there are nearly 2 million New Yorkers suffering from diabetes- including one in ten adults statewide and one in eight in NYC. The prevalence of this disease is particularly high among seniors, African-Americans and Latinos. About 13% of adults in the South Bronx and nearly 15% of those in north Brooklyn report they have diabetes. Over 10% were diagnosed in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties in northern New York.
The medicals costs for treating uncontrolled diabetes in New York are over $8 billion. The maintenance of adequate State funding to foster better care by working with both patients and health care providers is critical to controlling costs associated with diabetic complications, such as kidney failure, blindness and limb amputations, and improving the quality of life for those afflicted with diabetes.
"Diabetes may be the most costly and serious health issue facing our communities and now is not the time to give it less prominence in the State budget. We need to spend more on prevention of both diabetes and obesity and we need to make legislators and the public more aware of the need to increase our support for the programs helping those who suffer," said Rivera.