As the Alzheimer’s epidemic looms large in a presidential election year, both Congress and candidates are faced with tough questions surrounding funding for Alzheimer’s disease research. A Congressional Task Force formed in 1999 continues to pave the way with awareness and advocacy while Hillary Clinton has recently proposed a $2 billion annual investment in Alzheimer’s research.
Learn more about federal efforts to create funds for — and fight — the disease.
Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s
The Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease was founded in 1999 with the objective of bringing the disease to the forefront of the congressional agenda.
Established to raise awareness of the disease and advance research efforts, the task force is bipartisan, led by:
- House Co-Chair Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA)
- House Co-Chair Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ)
- Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX)
- Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
- Senate Co-Chair Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
- Senate Co-Chair Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)
- Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)
- Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
The Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease consists of 180 members and most recently worked with the Alzheimer’s Association to pass the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which has been crucial in securing funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health.
Presidential Candidate Proposes Doubling Dementia Research and Spending
Presidential candidate and current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has proposed a $2 billion annual investment in Alzheimer’s research, which is more than double the amount in the newly passed appropriations bill. Paid for by changes in the tax code, the plan has gained bipartisan support as many realize the emotional and financial burden Alzheimer’s places not only on families but on the larger health care system. A recent study found that in 2010, direct health care expenses for dementia were $109 billion with indirect costs reaching at least $50 billion.
Mrs. Clinton is the first presidential candidate to announce a plan to fight the disease, which threatens to reach epidemic proportions. She encourages investments in Alzheimer’s research stating:
“We owe it to the millions of families who stay up at night worrying about their loved ones afflicted by this terrible disease and facing the hard reality of the long goodbye to make research investments that will prevent, effectively treat and make a cure possible by 2025.”
Congressional members on both sides of the aisle support her quest for research funding. Republican and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich recently tweeted, “I often disagree with Hillary Clinton, but on Alzheimer’s she is moving in the right direction.”