The Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, the Alzheimer’s Association and our nationwide network of dedicated advocates are celebrating breaking news from Washington - federal research funding for Alzheimer’s at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has received a $400 million increase in the FY2017 budget.
We first shared with you the Senate Appropriations and House Appropriations Committee’s intent to once again pass an historic funding increase in the summer and today it was officially signed into law by the president. Today’s news would not be possible without the work of AIM, the Alzheimer’s Association and our advocates. Since last year, we have held thousands of meetings with members and their staff requesting they invest at least an additional $400 million in Alzheimer’s research funding.
Thanks to bipartisan leadership in Congress, today Alzheimer’s research has reached nearly $1.4 billion at the NIH. This bipartisan effort was spearheaded by Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and by House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.), and House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).
This marks the second consecutive year that Alzheimer’s research funding has been singled out for historic funding increases. Still, more work remains.
Today, Alzheimer’s costs the nation, $259 billion in 2017, with $175 billion coming in direct costs to Medicare and Medicaid. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that by mid-century the cost of Alzheimer’s is projected to more than quadruple to $1.1 trillion. Yet, despite today’s funding increase, Alzheimer’s research funding at the NIH is still well below what is needed if researchers are to meet the primary goal of the national plan to find a method of treatment or prevention by 2025.
Demonstrating the urgency of this crisis, the NIH Professional Judgment Budget commissioned by Congress has already recommended a $414 million increase in spending on Alzheimer’s disease research for fiscal year 2018. The Alzheimer’s Association and AIM are already working to ensure that today’s increase is not the last. Just last month, a record-breaking 1,300 advocates from across the country came to Washington, D.C. for the Advocacy Forum and asked Congress to continue to act.
About the Author: Robert Egge is the Alzheimer’s Association’s Chief Public Policy Officer and also serves as the Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement.