Funding the national response to Alzheimer’s and related dementias is a “national priority, economic and budgetary necessity, health and moral imperative,” according to a coalition of 360 organizations and allies asking Congress to recommit to funding priorities including $4 billion in increases in funding to fight the disease.
LeadingAge and Argentum joined the coalition, Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease (LEAD) — which also includes the Alzheimer’s Association, AMDA–The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, Brookdale Senior Living and the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society — in sending a joint letter to Congress retirerating support for dementia-focused FY 2024 appropriations priorities. The plea follows a “historic funding increase” for Alzheimer’s research provided in FY 2023 appropriations.
In the letter to House Appropriations Committee leaders, the coalition asked for the committee’s continued support of priorities laid out earlier this year by the health, aging and science advocacy community. The coalition noted that “sustained, robust and effective investments” by Congress and the private sector are working as widespread access to the first disease-modifying treatment to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s may be available soon.
“Now there is even greater urgency to build on this watershed moment with an unrelenting commitment of essential funding to advance the scene to even more effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, along with strengthening the programmatic supports imperative to improving quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers,” the letter reads.
Specifically, the coalition is seeking funding in FY 24 appropriations bills as follows:
- A $321 million increase for National Institutes of Health research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
- A $3.5 billion increase for NIH, with funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health.
- A $60 million increase for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative — a multidisciplinary collaboration working to map circuits of the brain and measure electrical and chemical activity to eventually develop novel interventions.
- A $372 million increase for the Food and Drug Administration to meet the most pressing needs in medical products and food safety programs.
- A doubling of funding for the Older Americans Act, as well as a $6.5 million increase for the Administration for Community Living’s Alzheimer’s Disease Program, to expand dementia-capable home- and community-based service/long-term services and support systems; a $35 million increase for the Health Resources and Services Administration geriatrics workforce programs, the only federal mechanism supporting geriatrics health professions education and training; and a $5 million increase for the Department of Justice Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program for training and technology grants to help first responders locate individuals who wander and become lost.
- $60 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Alzheimer’s Diseases and Health Aging Program to continue Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act implementation, expand the CDC Healthy Brain Initiative and reduce dementia risk through brain health promotion.
The coalition also supports language in appropriations reports advancing the goals of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.
The coalition noted that more than 6.7 million Americans are living with dementia, with combined healthcare and long-term care costs of $345 billion. By 2050, approximately 12.7 million Americans are expected to have diagnoses of dementia, increasing the economic costs of the disease to $1 trillion, according to the group.
“The choice before our nation is not whether to pay for dementia — we are paying dearly,” the letter read. “The question is whether we will emulate the sustained investment strategies that have led to remarkable progress in fighting other leading causes of death and achieve similar breakthroughs, or spend trillions to care for tens of millions of people.
“A modernized and more robust research portfolio can help America prevent this catastrophe and move us closer to achieving our national goal of preventing and effectively treating dementia by 2025.”
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