FEDERAL PRIORITIES 2014
Alzheimer’s disease is a growing crisis for our families and the economy. The federal government must address the challenges the disease poses and take bold action to confront this epidemic now.
1. Increase the commitment to Alzheimer’s research
Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America. Over the next 40 years, caring for people with Alzheimer’s will cost our country $20 trillion, with nearly 60 percent of that borne by Medicare. If we had a treatment that delayed onset of Alzheimer’s by just five years, Medicare spending would be reduced on those with the disease by 45 percent in 2050. While Congress provided an additional $100 million for Alzheimer’s research in fiscal year 2014, the chronic underinvestment in Alzheimer’s research persists. For every $100 that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends on Alzheimer’s research, Medicare and Medicaid spend $26,500 caring for those with the disease. Congress must continue its commitment to the fight against Alzheimer’s by increasing funding for Alzheimer’s research by $200 million in fiscal year 2015.
2. Ensure accountability in the National Alzheimer’s Plan
In 2050, up to 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s disease, creating an enormous strain on the health care system, families, and the federal budget. Recognizing this growing crisis, Congress unanimously passed and President Obama signed into law the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), calling for the creation of a National Alzheimer’s Plan (Public Law 111-375). In May 2012, the first-ever National Plan was released, with a goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. To reach that goal, the NIH has established research milestones and timelines. But what the NIH has not established is the level of funding necessary to reach them. The Alzheimer’s Accountability Act (S. 2192/H.R. 4351) would require the scientists at the NIH to submit an annual Alzheimer’s research budget proposal directly to Congress, specifying the resources needed. That way, Congress will know what the scientists need.
3. Improve access to diagnosis and care planning
To ensure high quality medical care and better outcomes for individuals with Alzheimer’s, the disease must be diagnosed, care must be planned, and the diagnosis must be noted in the individual’s medical record. Studies also suggest that an early diagnosis and care planning improve a caregiver’s long-term health. Yet, about half of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias have not been diagnosed. Consistent with the National Alzheimer’s Plan’s call for timely diagnosis and education for newly-diagnosed individuals, the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 709/H.R.1507) would increase diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, provide information on medical and non-medical services for newly-diagnosed patients and their families, and document the diagnosis in the patient’s medical record.
Other Legislation We Support:
Other Legislation We Have Supported in Prior Sessions of Congress:
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