Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) headlined an Alzheimer's Disease informational briefing Thursday organized by the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ) and the California Healthcare Institute.
This devastating disease afflicts over 5 million people in the U.S. alone, a number that is expected to triple in coming decades, at a projected financial cost of over $1 trillion a year by 2050.
"Alzheimer's is without a doubt the future health care crisis for our nation," said Smith, who co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease and is the chairman of the House subcommittee which oversees global health issues. "We know that the trajectory of Alzheimer's disease over the next few decades threatens unparalleled tragedy and threatens to overwhelm society's ability to cope if something is not done to change that trajectory. And the cost to our nation's health care system is staggering -- estimated to be $183 billion annually, including $130 billion falling on Medicare and Medicaid alone.
"We are in desperate need of better tools to manage Alzheimer's," said Smith, who was joined by Linda Sanchez (D-CA) at the bipartisan briefing. "In these very austere fiscal times, it is even more important to have briefings like this to raise awareness in Congress of the seriousness of the problem, but also to show the progress being made by dedicated researchers, prominently including leading researchers in New Jersey companies and universities."