The American Diabetes Association today said it would endorse U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva's Medicaid Enhancement and Emergency Job Creation Act.

The group thanked Grijalva, "on behalf of the nearly 26 million Americans living with  diabetes and the 79 million with prediabetes" for his "leadership" in introducing the bill  in December.

The bill would expand funding for state Medicaid programs and in doing so, Grijalva predicts, create jobs across the country, and prevent hospital and health center closures.

Medicaid is for extremely indigent people. In Arizona, it's for individuals earning less than $11,000 per year. The number of people on the state's Medicaid rolls has swelled in recent years.

About one in every five Arizonans receives Medicaid benefits, including 210,000 residents of Pima County. Arizona's form of Medicaid — the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) — has cut back its coverage due to state budget woes and slashed reimbursement levels to health care providers.

"Now, more than ever, people with diabetes rely on Medicaid for the tools to manage their disease and reduce their risk of tragic - and costly - complications such as blindness, amputations, end-stage kidney disease and heart disease," the ADA letter of support reads.

"Restoring the enhanced Medicaid matching rates will allow states to reach our most vulnerable Americans while creating jobs in the health care sector." The full letter is available at

According to an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute, an additional $42 billion in Medicaid grants could close more than 40 percent of states' budget shortfalls and provide immediate economic support, particularly for states with high unemployment.

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Diabetics have been particularly hard-hit by the state of Arizona's cuts to its Medicaid program, as podiatry services were slashed. The Star ran a"> story about the cuts last summer.