Senators Call on Congress to Make Fighting Alzheimer's Disease an Urgent National Priority
This year, 5.2 million Americans will suffer from the devastating emotional and economic toll caused by Alzheimer's disease. According to a recent report from the Alzheimer's Association, unless the current trajectory changes, that number will increase to 13.5 million in 2050. In addition, caring for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia will cost our nation $226 billion--with Medicare and Medicaid paying 68 percent of the cost--and unless an effective treatment is developed before 2050, the cost will soar to $1.1 trillion. Yet, our nation currently spends less than three tenths of one percent of the current cost--less than $600 million--on research.
Citing the tremendous personal and economic toll the disease takes on our nation, a bipartisan group of Senators including Susan Collins (R-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Mark Warner (D-VA) have coauthored a Senate Resolution declaring that the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's by 2025 is an "urgent national priority."
The resolution also calls on the Senate to double the amount of funding the U.S. spends on Alzheimer's in fiscal year 2016 and develop a plan to meet the target of $2 billion, as recommended by medical science experts, over the next five years. According to the Alzheimer's Association, the federal government would recoup its investment within the first three years a treatment or means of prevention becomes available.
"Supporting Alzheimer's research is personal for me," said Senator Warner. "I lost my mother to Alzheimer's and I know firsthand the devastating impact this disease has on individuals and families. My mother's legacy continues to motivate me every day to make finding a cure for Alzheimer's a national priority."
Senator Collins said, "Alzheimer's is a devastating disease that takes a tremendous personal and economic toll on both the individual and family and is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. If we are to prevent Alzheimer's from becoming the defining disease of the next generation, it is imperative that we dramatically increase our investment in Alzheimer's research. Doing so will not just save lives, it will save money."
Alzheimer's is one of the leading causes of death in our country, taking an emotional and financial toll on patients, their families and our health care system," said Senator Klobuchar. "As cases of this devastating disease increase, we must do more. We must make the fight against Alzheimer's a top priority by investing in the cutting-edge research that one day may lead to a cure."
"I believe "honor they mother and father' is not just a good commandment to live by, it is good public policy to govern by," Senator Mikulski said. "Alzheimer's is an equal opportunity scourge, affecting millions of families across America and putting a strain on our nation's health system. I will continue to fight to put America's biomedical innovation economy to work and bring an end to Alzheimer's once and for all."
Senator Stabenow said, "There are millions of sons, daughters, and spouses who are supporting loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's. By investing in research dollars and resources for patients and caregivers, this year can be the year we make a real breakthrough in the fight against this terrible disease."
The bipartisan Alzheimer's resolution has been endorsed by a number of organizations including the Alzheimer's Association; USAgainst Alzheimer's; the Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer's Disease, or LEAD coalition; and the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.