The Alzheimer's Association was pleased to host a town hall on Aug. 14 and to have Rep. Marlin Stutzman and Jorge Ortiz, regional director for Sen. Joe Donnelly, attend to discuss public policy and legislative issues directly related to Alzheimer's disease.
In the 2014 fiscal year budget before Congress there is a proposal for an additional $100 million for funding of Alzheimer's services. Stutzman asked why Congress should approve these funds when our budget is operating at a deficit. He cited a number of other illnesses that cause death and are burdensome to people affected and their families.
Alzheimer's is the single most costly illness in the United States. This year, Medicare and Medicaid costs for Alzheimer's will exceed $400 million. Medicare costs for a person with dementia average three times higher than spending on other seniors, and Medicaid spending is 19 times higher in comparison. If we are to change the projected increases in numbers of people affected (up to 16 million) and the projected cost ($1.2 trillion) by 2050, now is the time we must budget for and invest in the goals of the National Alzheimer's Plan.
Smart investors operate under the principle of investing today to provide positive outcome in the future. It is time for our Congress to recognize the 2014 fiscal year budget request of an additional $100 million is a smart investment in the health of our nation as well as the economy.
JANA POWELL Yoder Alzheimer's Association ambassador