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 most expensive disease in America, costing an estimated $236 billion in 2016. By mid-century, the number of people with the disease is set to nearly triple. And, the costs are projected to more than quadruple to $1.1 trillion, with two-thirds of these costs paid by Medicare and Medicaid. If we meet the goal of the National Alzheimer’s Plan to have an Alzheimer’s treatment by 2025, Medicare spending would be reduced on those with the disease by nearly 25 percent in 2050 alone – and the federal government would recoup its research investment within three years. While Congress has recently provided additional funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the commitment continues to fall far short of the need. For every $100 that the NIH spends on Alzheimer’s research, Medicare and Medicaid spend $16,000 caring for those with the disease. Congress must continue its commitment to the fight against Alzheimer’s disease by increasing funding for Alzheimer’s research by at least an additional $400 million in fiscal year 2017.
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.
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