By Sentinel News Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. recently underwent treatment for complications relating to diabetes. He issued the following statement:
“Each year, more than 7.2 million Americans discharged from the hospital are listed as having diabetes. I am one of them. Earlier this year, my diabetes progressed and began to affect my kidneys. Like thousands of my constituents and 32.5 million Americans, I am living with diabetes. At events with my constituents and health care organizations, I have spoken openly about my struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I have advocated in Congress for better and more affordable health care for the American people.
“The cost of diabetes in this country is $327 billion each year. I recognize that I am one of the lucky Americans who has good health coverage through their employment. Working for New Jersey’s Tenth Congressional District is a privilege and honor I do not take lightly. Almost 1 in 5 American adults cannot afford or access necessary health care. I know the importance of good-quality health care coverage, and that’s why I have fought for years against rollbacks to the Affordable Care Act—particularly those proposals that would harm people with preexisting conditions. Everyone deserves to have access to health care when they need it.
“Diabetes is a chronic disease, but it can be managed under the care of medical professionals to ensure people like me continue to lead productive lifestyles. Because of diabetes’ effects on my kidneys, I will be undergoing dialysis treatment with professionals at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and DaVita. As a patient and an advocate for the health care of my constituents, I’ll also be working with Beth Israel and DaVita to ensure that all people have equitable access to renal treatments such as dialysis. I’ll also be working with these and other organizations to sponsor health and wellness forums to promote healthy lifestyles, prevention, and access to health care.
“The well-being of my constituents and all people in the United States remains my priority. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Men’s Health Caucus and an active member of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, I lead from the heart—and from my experience as a patient—to bring together experts from across the country to discuss ways the federal government can improve health care. Last year, I fought against cuts to community health centers, Medicaid, and Medicare because the health of the American people is paramount. This year, I plan to reintroduce bills that will make it easier for people on Medicare to get screened for colorectal cancer and coordinate men’s health efforts nationally. And, as always, I will be a voice for the health of my constituents.”
This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel.