Record $122 million increase proposed for Alzheimer's disease in funding bill
Negotiations for the fiscal year 2014 federal budget ended last evening with a funding bill that recognizes the critical need to address the Alzheimer's epidemic facing the nation. The funding bill released by bipartisan House and Senate negotiators included the largest increase in funding dedicated to Alzheimer's and dementia — $122 million in funding for Alzheimer's research, education, outreach and caregiver support — in history. This achievement was driven by the unrelenting outreach of more than 600,000 Alzheimer's Association advocates to members of Congress, sharing their personal experiences and explaining the dramatic impact Alzheimer's is imposing on our nation and economy.
"By allotting $122 million to Alzheimer's research, care and support services, President Obama and Congress are acknowledging the magnitude of the Alzheimer's crisis and need for greater investment," said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association's vice president of public policy. "With prevalence numbers projected to triple by 2050, we must increase our efforts if we hope to avoid monumental human and financial costs in the future. This important step is a victory for Alzheimer's Association advocates and all affected by this terrible disease."
The funding allocated for Alzheimer's disease includes a $100 million increase for the National Institute on Aging for Alzheimer's research, $3.3 million to support the surveillance of Alzheimer's caregivers, $4 million to train health professionals on issues related to Alzheimer's disease, $10.5 million to expand the home and community based caregiver services and $4.2 million for outreach activities to raise awareness. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health's BRAIN Initiative will receive $30 million to support brain research that could impact several diseases, including Alzheimer's, if passed.
There are currently more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease, and that number is poised to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050, according the Alzheimer's Association 2013 Alzheimer's Disease Facts & Figures report. In addition to the human toll of the disease, care for Alzheimer's, the country's most expensive condition, costs the nation $203 billion annually with projections to reach $1.2 trillion by 2050. Yet for every $27,000 Medicare and Medicaid spend on caring for individuals with Alzheimer's, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends only $100 on Alzheimer's research.
"To meet the goal of the National Alzheimer's Plan and prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025, we will have to continue making investments until we reach levels comparable with the magnitude of crisis," said Egge. "The Alzheimer's Association and its advocates look forward to swift approvals and continued work in the year to come."
The Alzheimer's Association commends President Obama for his commitment to Alzheimer's funding in his initial budget request and Congress' bipartisan dedication to the cause despite unprecedented fiscal challenges. The Association now encourages all parties – House of Representatives, Senate and Obama Administration – to do everything possible to ensure enactment of the funding bill.
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.