U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Mark Warner (D-VA), Senate co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's disease, have introduced a Senate resolution affirming the national goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer's by 2025. Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-MA.), Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Michael Burgess (R-TX) have introduced companion legislation in the House declaring support for the goal set forward by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Disease in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease.
The National Alzheimer's Project Act, which was authored by Senator Collins and former Senator Evan Bayh, passed the House and the Senate unanimously in 2010, required HHS to create this national plan. The President's budget for fiscal year 2013 included an increase of $80 million for new Alzheimer's research and care spending. Care alone for Alzheimer's patients is projected to cost Medicare and Medicaid $850 billion each year by 2050, adding tremendous strain to state and federal budgets.
An estimated 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease, including more than 25,000 people in Maine, and 15 million are expected to be diagnosed over the coming decades. . If nothing is done to change the current trajectory, 13.5 million Americans over the age of 65 will have Alzheimer's disease by 2050. In addition to the suffering it causes, Alzheimer's costs the United States $172 billion a year, primarily in nursing home and other long-term care costs. This figure will only increase exponentially as the baby boom generation ages. If nothing is done to slow or stop the disease, Alzheimer's will cost the United States $20 trillion over the next 40 years.
"Alzheimer's disease takes a tremendous personal and economic toll on both the individual and the family," said Senator Collins. "As the Senate co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's disease, I am committed to conquering this dreadful disease that has caused such pain for so many American families. Our resolution supports the Department of Health and Human Service's goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer's by 2025, and it demonstrates an important commitment to a national effort to fight this horrible disease."
"Before I lost my mother to Alzheimer's, our entire family wrestled with the challenge of ensuring that she had the best home care possible," said Senator Warner. "I understand what millions of Americans are up against, and I wholeheartedly support the ambitious goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer's by 2025."