News Midday Update: Study puts a total on diabetes cost: $218 billion; immigration measure delayed in Cherokee County; UPS expects Dec. 18 to be peak shipping day

As diabetes is rapidly becoming one of the world's most common diseases, its financial cost is mounting, too, to well over $200 billion a year in the U.S. alone.

A new study, released Tuesday exclusively to The Associated Press, puts the total at $218 billion last year - the first comprehensive estimate of the financial toll diabetes takes, according to Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk A/S, which paid for the study.

That figure includes direct medical care costs, from insulin and pills for controlling patients' blood sugar to amputations and hospitalizations, plus indirect costs such as lost productivity, disability and early retirement.

The $218 billion amounts to about 10 percent of all U.S. health care spending by government and the public, about $2.1 trillion in 2006, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Direct and indirect U.S. costs of our top killer - heart disease and stroke - will total about $448.5 billion this year, according to the American Heart Association.

The study, conducted by the Lewin Group consultants, estimates costs to society for people known to have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes at $174.4 billion combined, a total previously reported by Novo Nordisk, the world's top producer of insulin and the maker of diabetes pills such as NovoNorm and Prandin. That study was done with the American Diabetes Association.

Associated Press

Immigration measure delayed in Cherokee County

The Cherokee County Commission will delay an ordinance that would require all renters pay a $5 fee and be verified as living in the country legally.

The commission decided Monday night to delay consideration of the bill until at least mid-January.

Chairman Buzz Ahrens says the body will take the time to review the ordinance and feedback from a public hearing Monday.

Some say the ordinance could subject the county to a costly legal fight. Others say it's overdue and welcome the measure.

The commission tried something similar in 2006. It was challenged in court and never enforced.

Associated Press

UPS expects Dec. 18 to be peak shipping day

UPS Inc. expects its busiest day overall for shipping packages this year will be Dec. 18.

For the first time since it went public in 1999, the Atlanta-based company is not forecasting how many packages it will ship that day. United Parcel Service also will not project how many seasonal employees it will hire this year to help it through the holiday shipping season that runs from Thanksgiving until Christmas.

The decision was prompted by weak October retail sales and the uncertainty of the upcoming holiday season amid the worst financial crisis to hit the U.S. in decades.

Last year, UPS, the world's largest shipping carrier, delivered more than 22 million packages on its peak shipping day, which was Dec. 19, and it hired about 60,000 seasonal employees.

Associated Press


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