Sen. Susan Collins

Thirty-eight senators have asked leaders of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and its Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to make increased funding for Alzheimer’s disease a priority in their appropriations for fiscal year 2019.

“In FY 2018, thanks to the good work of your Subcommittees, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) committed $1.8 billion to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research, compared to just $504 million in FY 2013. We have made tremendous improvement over the years; and yet, we still fall short of the levels leading experts estimate will be needed to maximize our likelihood of achieving the 2025 goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s,” the lawmakers, led by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Ed Markey (D-MA), wrote in an April 11 letter.

The letter was sent to Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL), chairman of the Appropriations Committee; Patrick Leahy (D-VT), vice chairman; Roy Blunt (R-MO), chairman of the committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education; and Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the subcommittee.

Collins is the founder of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease and co-chairs the group with Warner, Markey and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).

The senators did not call for a particular dollar amount of funding, but experts convened under the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, authored by Collins, said that $2 billion per year in research funding was needed to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s by 2025.

Almost 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, with overall annual costs to the country of $277 billion, including $186 billion to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, according to the senators. They also called for increased funding to Alzheimer’s and dementia-related initiatives at the HHS’ Administration for Community Living and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to Collins, Warner and Markey, 35 other Democrat, Republican and independent senators signed the letter:

  • Tammy Baldwin (D-WI),
  • Michael Bennet (D-CO),
  • Richard Blumenthal (D-CT),
  • Cory Booker (D-NJ),
  • Sherrod Brown (D-OH),
  • Ben Cardin (D-MD),
  • Tom Carper (D-DE),
  • Bob Casey (D-PA),
  • Chris Coons (D-DE),
  • Mike Crapo (R-ID),
  • Tammy Duckworth (D-IL),
  • Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY),
  • Martin Heinrich (D-NM),
  • Mazie Hirono (D-HI),
  • John Hoeven (R-ND),
  • Jim Inhofe (R-OK),
  • Tim Kaine (D-VA),
  • John Kennedy (R-LA),
  • Angus King (I-ME),
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-MN),
  • Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV),
  • Bob Menendez (D-NJ),
  • Chris Murphy (D-CT),
  • Bill Nelson (D-FL),
  • Gary Peters (D-MI),
  • Jack Reed (D-RI),
  • James Risch (R-ID),
  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH),
  • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI),
  • Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
  • Elizabeth Warren (D-MA),
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI),
  • Roger Wicker (R-MS) and
  • Todd Young (R-IN).