Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) has reintroduced H.R. 1619, the Making Investments Now for Dementia (MIND) Act, with the support of Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), the co-chairs on the Congressional Taskforce on Alzheimer's. This legislation, through the investment in bonds, would allow all proceeds to be directed to the Director of the National Institutes of Health solely for Alzheimer's research. Funding for Alzheimer's research is imperative, as it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
"Alzheimer's immense emotional, physical, and financial toll on patients and families shows that the United States must do more to cure the disease," said Dr. Burgess. "Funding for Alzheimer's is crucial, as it slowly takes away cognitive thinking, memories, and coordination. Despite having recognized potential genetic links, researchers and doctors have been unable to find the cause."
There are currently over 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease, costing the United States $172 billion annually. Alzheimer's is projected to afflict ten million baby boomers, and as more Americans are diagnosed, costs will only rise. Currently, for every dollar that is spent on care, less than a penny is invested in finding a cure. The MIND Act will provide an additional avenue for research funding by establishing issuances of United States Alzheimer's Bonds.
The MIND Act is supported by several individuals and groups determined to find a cure for Alzheimer's, including: former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Alzheimer's Association, American Academy of Neurology, and Alzheimer's Foundation of America.
"The MIND Act gives every citizen the opportunity to help cure a disease which devastates families and poses a multi-trillion dollar challenge to our nation's future," Speaker Gingrich said.
"As the most costly disease in America and with this already staggering fiscal burden set to increase rapidly over the coming years, we must do all we can immediately to accelerate Alzheimer's research. By establishing the issuance of United States Alzheimer's Bonds, we can create an additional source of funding specifically for Alzheimer research at the National Institutes of Health. With more than two-thirds of Alzheimer's cost paid by Medicare and Medicaid, an advance in Alzheimer research has the potential to save not only millions of lives, but also billions of dollars each year for the nation's public health programs," Robert Egge, Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy for the Alzheimer's Association, said of the legislation.
"Neurologists are on the front lines in providing care for the more than five million Americans living with the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease and providing counsel to their families and caregivers," said Timothy A. Pedley, MD, FAAN, president of the American Academy of Neurology. "It is essential that Congress think in innovative ways, as suggested in the MIND Act, to encourage research into the prevention, treatment and cures of neurologic disorders like Alzheimer's disease."
"The need for Alzheimer's disease research remains paramount. The incidence of this devastating brain disorder in our nation will triple by 2050 and costs associated with care will skyrocket accordingly. In these times of fiscal restraint, it's necessary to be creative in finding funding sources to meet this escalating need. Issuing bonds has always been a traditional way of raising money for a common good. Americans who want to do good for the current and future generations will stand up and put their money in an investment that will pay big dividends for us as a nation," said Eric Sokol, vice president of public policy at the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.