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Congresswoman Laura Richardson Rises to Recognize November as American Diabetes Month

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize November as American Diabetes Month. I urge my colleagues to join me in raising diabetes awareness and encouraging Americans to learn more about how to prevent and manage this disease.

I understand on a very personal level the challenges that come with this disease. Diabetes took the life of my father, and it takes the lives of over 68,000 other Americans each year. It is also the leading cause of kidney failure, and its complications include high blood pressure and heart disease.

Diabetes is a growing concern for millions of Americans, but it is important to note that diabetes disproportionately affects minority communities. I represent one of the most diverse districts in the Nation, the 37th Congressional District of California, and racial disparities in health outcomes and access to care are of particular concern to me. In California, of 2.3 million African Americans, over 300,000 have diabetes, and there are approximately 4,500 deaths annually.

Although diabetes affects every district in every State, many Americans still struggle to access important information about the seriousness of diabetes and its complications. As a Member of Congress, I am working hard to change this and to ensure that all Americans secure their right to quality, affordable health care.

I would like to take a moment to express my continued support for the Affordable Care Act, which has been and will continue to be instrumental in improving access to health care. The Affordable Care Act ensures that people with diabetes can no longer be discriminated against for pre-existing conditions. No longer can they be denied coverage or charged at higher rates. Also, the elimination of lifetime and annual caps on coverage means that people with diabetes and other chronic conditions will not have to fear an end to their care.

Through new government policy, improved education, and greater awareness, we can begin to control this epidemic. Although there is no cure, there are many preventative measures that all Americans can take to reduce their risk and control their diabetes. I encourage everyone to exercise regularly, watch for warning signs, and make smart health decisions.

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for joining me in recognizing this month as American Diabetes Month, and I pledge to continue standing with the millions of Americans who have been impacted by this disease.