Implement the National Alzheimer’s Project Act
In 2050, up to 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s disease, creating an enormous strain on the health care system, families, and the federal budget. Recognizing this growing crisis, Congress unanimously passed and President Obama signed into law the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), calling for the creation of a National Alzheimer’s Plan. In May, the first National Alzheimer’s Plan was released. In support of the Plan, the President’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal includes $100 million in additional funding for research, awareness, education and outreach, and caregiver support.
Increase the commitment to Alzheimer’s research
Over the next 40 years, Alzheimer’s will cost our country $20 trillion. Nearly 60 percent of that will be borne by Medicare. If we had a treatment that delayed onset of Alzheimer’s by just five years, Medicare spending would be reduced on those with the disease by 45 percent in 2050. Unfortunately, there continues to be a chronic underinvestment in Alzheimer’s disease research. The President’s budget proposal would take a first step toward finding the needed treatments, prevention, and cure by including an additional $80 million for Alzheimer’s research.
Expand education efforts and caregiver support services
Despite the growing number of Americans directly affected by Alzheimer’s, there are still widespread misconceptions about the disease, and health care providers are unprepared and undertrained in how to deal with individuals with Alzheimer’s and their families. In addition, support for unpaid family caregivers is wholly inadequate. The President’s budget proposes $20 million for provider education and outreach, public awareness, and caregiver support.