Today, on the 46th anniversary of the signing of the historic Older Americans Act, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a resolution urging the United States Postal Service to issue a postal stamp to help raise money for Alzheimer's disease research. Proceeds from the sales of the Alzheimer's stamp would help fund Alzheimer's research at the National Institutes of Health. By paying an increased rate of the "semipostal" stamp, people contribute directly to the search for a new treatment or a cure. U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate in May.
"With the passage of the Older American Act, our country made a commitment to care for our seniors," said Rep. Markey, co-chair of the bipartisan Alzheimer's Taskforce. "Almost half a century later, with millions of Americans now afflicted with Alzheimer's and more expected to suffer in the future, we must continue our commitment to care for our seniors and combat the disease that will plague an estimated 13 million people age 65 and older by 2050. The Stamp Act will raise awareness and funds to help cure this heartbreaking and devastating disease."
"Finding new ways to treat Alzheimer's should be a national priority," said Senator Mikulski, senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. "When my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I felt powerless. This disease harms patients and their families, and it strains our health care system. My colleagues and I understand this, and, in a bipartisan effort, are supporting the Alzheimer's Stamp Act."
Rep. Markey is a co-chair of the bipartisan Alzheimer's Taskforce and the House author of the landmark National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA), signed into law earlier this year. One of the most significant victories in the fight against Alzheimer's disease in the past three decades, NAPA provides strategic planning and coordination for the fight against Alzheimer's disease across the federal government.
An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease -- including one in eight people older than 65 and one in two over 85. In 2011 the federal government is estimated to spend over $130 billion in care for Alzheimer's patients through Medicare and Medicaid. By 2050, this disease is likely to affect more than 13 million people 65 and older and cost the federal government over $800 billion dollars every year -- unless we find a medical breakthrough.
Congress passed the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1965 to expand social services for older persons. Under the legislation, States have received grants for community planning and development projects. The law also established the Administration on Aging.