FEDERAL PRIORITIES 2017
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 only leading cause of death in America without a way to prevent, cure, or even slow its progression. What’s more, according to the findings of an NIH-funded study that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America. In 2017, the United States is estimated to spend $259 billion caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, with $175 billion being borne by Medicare and Medicaid. This means nearly one out of five Medicare dollars is spent on a person with Alzheimer’s. Unless we move quickly to address this crisis and find better treatments for those who have it, these costs will grow swiftly in lock step with the numbers of those affected, and Alzheimer’s will increasingly overwhelm our health care system. The Alzheimer's Association, along with our partner the Alzheimer's Impact Movement, are currently asking for Congress to approve a $414 million increase for the government’s fiscal year 2018 budget. This is consistent with the Alzheimer’s Bypass Budget issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
2. Educate providers on palliative and hospice care
Nearly half of all people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are in hospice care at the time of their death. Less than half of surveyed nursing homes have some sort of palliative care program. For people with advanced dementia, such care – which focuses on managing and easing symptoms, reducing pain and stress, and increasing comfort – improves quality of life, controls costs, and enhances patient and family satisfaction. But, as the demand for such care grows with the aging population, more must be done to ensure an adequately trained workforce.
The Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer's Impact Movement strongly support the bipartisan Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA). Read our letter of support.
Other Legislation We Support (115th Congress):
- S. Res. 49, resolution declaring that acheiving the primary goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease is an urgent national priority
- S. 464 The Independence at Home Act of 2017