Legislation Would Double Federal Funding for Alzheimer’s Research
Jun 16 2004
WASHINGTON (June 16, 2004) – In honor of President Reagan, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., joined other senators today in introducing The Ronald Reagan Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2004, which would double the funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health. The bipartisan bill, which was written by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Kit Bond, R-Mo., would also provide support for caregivers and launch a public education campaign to increase awareness of the disease and available treatments. “Alzheimer’s is a tough disease – for the person who is afflicted, their families and those who love them,” said Carper, whose 82-year-old mother suffers from the disease. “We all admire Nancy Reagan for the grace she exhibited during the last years of her husband’s life. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to President Reagan and his family than to pass this legislation, which will help the federal government find ways to stop this disease in its tracks.” Among the bill’s major provisions: · Strengthens the federal government’s commitment to Alzheimer’s research. The bill would double from $700 million to $1.4 billion the budget for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health. More funding would mean more clinical trials to test new ideas to prevent and treat the disease, as well as slow its progression. · Provides critical support for caregivers. The legislation would almost double from $145 million to $275 million the funds available for respite care, home health care, counseling and training. The bill would also provide a tax credit of up to $3,000 to help pay for caregiving costs like prescription drugs, home health care, and specialized day care. · Educates public. The bill would launch a “News You Can Use” education campaign to get the word out about advances in research. While scientists are working for a cure, this public education campaign will help families and doctors find out the latest information on how to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and slow the onset of symptoms. Alzheimer’s is fast becoming the biggest health threat facing Baby Boomers as they approach retirement. Some 4.5 million Americans are living with the disease now, and that number is expected to increase 70 percent, to 7.7 million, by 2030, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, the largest private funder of Alzheimer’s research. The cost to Medicare will rise 55 percent to $50 billion a year in less than 10 years, and the cost of Medicaid will soar by 80 percent to $33 billion, according to the group.