Alzheimer’s fiscal impact considerable

To the Journal editor:

Alzheimer’s is expensive. How expensive? It’s $259 billion expensive. What does $259 billion even look like? You could give every man, woman and child in the US $805.85 or buy 8,633,333 cars valued at $30,000. If it was miles you could go around the globe 10,412,478.9 times.

This year, the annual cost of caring for the individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias will reach $259 billion, $175 billion of which comes in direct costs to Medicare and Medicaid. In 2016, for every $100 the U.S. government spent on Alzheimer’s research, $16,000 was spent by Medicare and Medicaid to care for those living with the disease.

This seems like a lot of money currently however, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s, the number of Americans with the disease is set to triple over the next 35 years, and the cost of care will increase to $1.1 trillion in 2050.

It is only through adequate funding and a strong implementation of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease that we will meet its goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025.

Thankfully, Congress is taking action. On May 3, a $400 million increase in Alzheimer’s research funding was approved. This historical increase will be doubling Alzheimer’s research funds in just two years, clearly showing the need and impact of medical research. I am proud that in Michigan Representatives Jack Bergman, Bill Huizenga,John Moolenaar, Daniel Kildee, Fred Upton, Tim Walberg, Mike Bishop, Sander Levin, Paul Mitchell, Dave Trott, Debbie Dingell, John Conyers and Brenda Lawrence voted for this historic increase.

Rep. John Moolenaar even talked about the impact of Alzheimer’s on the house floor! Please join me in thanking our representatives for their commitment in the fight to end Alzheimer’s and urge them to continue fighting for increased in funds as we look ahead at the FY18 budgets.