Alzheimer's Association applauds Obama administration for dedication of new resources to Alzheimer's epidemic
The Alzheimer's Association commends the Obama administration for dedicating an additional $100 million within President Barack Obama's FY 2014 budget toward the fight against Alzheimer's and the implementation of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. These new resources will be used to fund research, awareness, education and outreach, and caregiver support.
"In addition to the human suffering caused by the disease, Alzheimer's is creating an enormous financial strain on the health care system, families and the federal budget," said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association. "Last year's creation of the first-ever National Alzheimer's Plan with coordinated, measurable outcomes was a critical step, but unless there are resources to implement the plan and the will to abide by it, we cannot hope to make sufficient progress."
According to the Alzheimer's Association 2013 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report, Alzheimer's currently costs the nation $203 billion annually with projections to reach $1.2 trillion by 2050. The direct cost of Alzheimer's and related dementia is greater than any other condition in the United States, including heart disease and cancer, according to a recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine. Over the next 40 years, caring for people with Alzheimer's and related dementias will cost $20 trillion — enough to pay off the national debt and still send $10,000 to every man, woman and child in the America. Two-thirds of this amount will be paid by Medicare and Medicaid.
Even with this information, however, for every $31,000 Medicare and Medicaid spends on caring for individuals with Alzheimer's, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends only $100 on research to change this trajectory. The president's budget recognizes that these programs are linked — investments in Alzheimer's research today will result not just in better lives for millions, but a much sounder financial future for our nation as well. In fact, a disease-modifying or preventive therapy would save billions of dollars in health care costs. If a treatment became available in 2015 that delayed onset of Alzheimer's for five years (a concept similar to anti-cholesterol drugs), quality of life would improve significantly and savings would be seen almost immediately, with Medicare and Medicaid spending reduced by $42 billion just in the year 2020.
"Alzheimer's is not normal aging, but because age is the biggest risk factor the graying of America threatens to bankrupt the nation. If we're going to succeed in changing the trajectory of this epidemic, we must provide scientists with the resources they need," said Johns.
The Alzheimer's Association will continue to work with the Administration and Congress to pursue full implementation of the National Alzheimer's Plan and the essential timeline set by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025.
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org.