Additional Funding for Alzheimer’s Researchby Representative Tony Cárdenas
Posted on 2014-12-11
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Mr. CARDENAS. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to speak in support for
increased funding for Alzheimer's research.
There is no other way to put it: Alzheimer's is a terrible disease. It destroys your memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest of tasks.
In the United States, more than 5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer's, and about half of those with the disease do not know they have it. In fact, every 67 seconds, someone in this country develops Alzheimer's--a staggering statistic, no doubt--but by 2050, it will be every 33 seconds. To make matters worse, Alzheimer's is the only cause of death in the top 10 in America without a way to prevent, treat, or slow the progression of the disease. In other words, there is no cure.
It should not be a surprise that Alzheimer's is the most expensive disease in America. In 2014, caring for people with the disease and other dementias will cost the United States an estimated $214 billion. Medicare and Medicaid spending will shoulder the majority of the care cost, an estimated $150 billion this year alone. This means that roughly 1 in 5 Medicare dollars are spent on someone with Alzheimer's. And unless something is done, the costs of Alzheimer's to Americans will total $1.2 trillion, in today's dollars, including an over 500% increase in Medicare and Medicaid spending on Alzheimer's.
Congress has already taken action to address this very serious issue. Specifically, Congress unanimously passed the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) in 2010, calling for the creation of a National Alzheimer's Plan. That plan has resulted in some notable accomplishments, including the NIH creating a blueprint for Alzheimer's research. However, for the progress this disease requires, scientists need additional funds to carry out the blueprint.
While Congress provided a much needed addition of $100 million in Alzheimer's research, a chronic underinvestment in Alzheimer's research persists. Congress must continue its commitment to the fight against Alzheimer's by increasing funding for Alzheimer's research in Fiscal Year 2015 by $200 million.
Democrats and Republicans alike should be united in tackling Alzheimer's. After all, it is a disease that affects individuals regardless of party preference, a disease that affects our very own constituents and loved ones, and a disease that we, as elected officials, have a responsibility to do something about.