Washington, D.C.—A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a pair of bills that would cement and build on the important progress that has been made to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s costs our nation an astonishing $321 billion per year, including $206 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. If we continue along this trajectory, Alzheimer’s is projected to claim the minds of 12.7 million seniors and nearly surpass $1 trillion in annual costs by 2050. In 2021, family caregivers provided 16 billion hours of unpaid care for loved ones with dementia. Nearly half of baby boomers reaching age 85 will either be afflicted with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone who has it.
In 2011, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) authored the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) with then-Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). NAPA convened a panel of experts, who created a coordinated strategic national plan to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. The law is set to expire soon and must be reauthorized to ensure that research investments remain coordinated and their impact is maximized.
The NAPA Reauthorization Act—authored by Senator Collins and co-led by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)—would reauthorize NAPA through 2035 and modernize the legislation to reflect strides that have been made to understand the disease, such as including a new focus on promoting healthy aging and reducing risk factors.
The Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act—authored by Senators Collins, Markey, Capito, Warner, Moran, Menendez, Murkowski, and Stabenow—would continue through 2035 a requirement that the Director of the National Institutes of Health submit an annual budget to Congress estimating the funding necessary to fully implement NAPA’s research goals. Only two other areas of biomedical research – cancer and HIV/AIDS – have been the subject of special budget development aimed at speeding discovery.
“We have made tremendous progress in recent years to boost funding for Alzheimer’s research, which holds great promise to end this disease that has had a devastating effect on millions of Americans and their families,” said Senator Collins, a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. “The two bills we are introducing will maintain our momentum and make sure that we do not take our foot off the pedal just as our investments in basic research are beginning to translate into potential new treatments. We must not let Alzheimer’s define our children’s generation as it has ours.”
“I lost my mother to Alzheimer's after a 10-year battle with the illness, and I saw firsthand the challenges of this terrible disease,” said Senator Warner, co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. “While we have made great strides in research, this legislation seeks to build on that progress as we continue to seek new ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s. On behalf of the millions of American families who have been touched by Alzheimer’s, we will continue to fight for a cure.”
“More than a decade ago, I cosponsored the National Alzheimer's Project Act, and since becoming law, it has played a major role in ensuring Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are a priority at NIH and other federal agencies,” Senator Capito said. “More than ever before, Americans and their families are living with the effects of Alzheimer’s, something that I have personally experienced. We must build on this momentum, continue to make critical research investments, and fight for all those impacted by this disease. Both of these bipartisan bills work toward our shared goals, and I’m proud to reintroduce them with my colleagues.”
“I am proud to have worked across chambers and across the aisle throughout my time in Congress to create a whole of government strategy for curing Alzheimer’s Disease and supporting families living with this disease. We’ve made significant progress in prevention, treatment, and supporting caregivers,” said Senator Markey, a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. “We’ve delivered resources and breakthroughs that I wish my family had when my mother was living with Alzheimer’s. But the work is not done until we’ve ended Alzheimer’s for good. I will continue to fight for major investments to advance research for a cure.”
“Our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and the development of new treatments have made significant progress since the National Alzheimer’s Project Act was first signed into law in 2011,” said Senator Moran. “As our senior population expands, more research and treatment will be required to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s important that we continue the work of NAPA and invest in further research of this horrible disease.”
“No family deserves to go through the pain of watching their loved ones fade away to this awful disease as I experienced with my mother,” said Senator Menendez. “Congress must do more to make sure the U.S. is leading the way in understanding Alzheimer’s and reducing risk factors, as well as expanding early diagnosis and providing assistance to patients and their families. I’m proud to continue fighting for this cause in my mother’s name by cosponsoring and advancing these bills to ensure one day we have a world without Alzheimer’s.”
“Alzheimer’s is unforgiving and devastating for families. And the impacts of this disease, both emotional and financial, require continued efforts,” said Senator Murkowski. “We’ve made progress by providing support and hope to those affected by this condition, but we must expand upon previous legislation to invest further in Alzheimer’s research. These bipartisan efforts will aid in the goal of developing better treatments and eventually finding a cure.”
“Receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is heartbreaking for patients and their families. Yet we’ve taken major steps toward understanding and fighting Alzheimer’s thanks to increased research investments,” said Senator Stabenow. “This legislation will help ensure that we keep making progress toward the goal we all share: being able to prevent, treat, and cure Alzheimer’s disease.”
“With the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) set to expire by 2025, passing the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act is urgently needed. These bipartisan pieces of legislation would continue the critical work of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease to support Alzheimer’s research and improve the delivery of clinical care and services for people living with Alzheimer’s and their families,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “The Alzheimer’s Association and AIM are deeply grateful to the sponsors for reintroducing this important legislation to help improve the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s throughout the nation. We look forward to working with these bipartisan congressional champions to swiftly pass these bills.”
“By making these her first two bills of the new Congress, Senator Collins has once again demonstrated her unwavering commitment to ending Alzheimer’s. The National Alzheimer’s Project Act has played a major role in the advancements we are seeing today but the fight is far from over, which makes these two bills so important” said George Vradenburg chair and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “Research is key to understanding, preventing, treating, and ultimately curing Alzheimer’s. People living with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones are grateful for champions like Senator Collins and her colleagues who stand with us in our fight to end this terrible disease.”