Burgess: Artificial intelligence key for future diabetic care

Rep. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessDemocrats livid over GOP's COVID-19 attacks on Biden Maintaining the doctor-patient relationship is the cornerstone of the U.S. health care system Burgess: Artificial intelligence key for future diabetic care MORE (R-Texas), a member of the House Diabetes Caucus, touted the benefits of artificial intelligence for diabetic care on Tuesday, saying he expects such newly-developed technologies to dominate the future market.

Burgess, speaking at The Hill’s Modernizing Diabetes Care event, endorsed the use of continuous glucose monitors, which can be paired with an insulin pump to automatically tracks and regulates blood sugar levels through an all-in-one management system. 

“All hands on deck – let’s utilize all the tools at our disposal," Burgess told The Hill’s Steve Clemons.

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Through leveraging the new technology, Burgess said the continuous influx of data will reduce difficulties for patients trying to manage diabetes by allowing data and algorithms to drive their care. The technology also removes the need for patients to perform regular finger pricks to check blood glucose levels.

“The patient can see the impact of choices they make,” he said.

But Burgess, a co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus who practiced medicine as an obstetrician for 30 years, voiced frustration with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval timeline for the technology.

“The FDA, I thought, was a little bit slow as far as approving things referred to as the artificial pancreas,” he said.

Burgess said Congress should “deconflict” the development and approvals of new technologies, referencing proposals to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) that would seek to find treatments and cures to the nation’s most intractable diseases with fewer regulatory restraints.

Burgess also warned of the "phenomenally" expensive cost of diabetes complications, arguing that reducing insulin prices would lower overall diabetes care costs by removing a "barrier" to treatment for some people.

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“One of the worst things that can happen to a diabetic is they get out of control, and one of the worst ways to get out of control is to have restricted access to the life-saving nature of insulin," Burgess said at the event sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company. 

"The cost of doing nothing is substantial,” he said.

After a rise in average prices in recent years, the House could vote on legislation that includes a cap on consumer costs for insulin this week. President BidenJoe BidenMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Dole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 MORE’s social spending framework includes provisions to limit out-of-pocket insulin payments at $35 per month and allow the federal government to negotiate insulin prices through Medicare.

House Democratic leaders are hoping to pass the proposed package this week. 

Its fate in the Senate remains unclear as Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSchumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Overnight Health Care — Biden touts drug price push Biden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote MORE (D-W.Va.), a centrist who has not yet endorsed the framework, offered a warning to party leaders Tuesday, saying he has "a lot of concerns" with the plan to enact the legislation by Christmas.