"Bipartisan bill pushes for the ‘next step’ in solving Alzheimer’s"
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“A bipartisan group of four senators on Monday introduced a bill they say would better align Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention strategies with public health approaches for other chronic health conditions, allowing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ‘create a modern infrastructure for the prevention, treatment, and care of Alzheimer’s and related dementias.’
“The legislation, authored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), focuses on improving early detection mechanisms, local health program coordination, and data-gathering operations.
“The Alzheimer’s Association, an advocacy group backing the legislation, estimates that nearly one-half of Americans with Alzheimer’s currently go undiagnosed, and that the disease’s prevalence among multiple minority groups is at least 50 percent higher than in white Americans.
“Collins, in introducing the bill, referred to Alzheimer’s disease as one of the country’s most under-recognized health conditions.
“'Five and a half million Americans are living with the disease, and that number is soaring as our overall population grows older and lives longer,’ she said in a statement. ‘After decades of expanding biomedical research in Alzheimer’s, we are ready for the next step: to translate research into practice.’
“Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) introduced an equivalent version of the legislation in the House. Like the Senate version, it would authorize roughly $37 million in funding for the CDC to implement goals that also take aim at shrinking health disparities and reducing burdens for caregivers.
“An analysis from the Alzheimer’s Association also estimated that one-quarter of hospitalizations related to the disease are preventable, which could save Medicare $2.6 billion annually. Legislators cited the country’s annual Alzheimer’s related expenditures of $259 billion, of which $175 billion is spent by Medicare and Medicaid.
“The bill’s authors also cited estimates showing that the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s could jump from 5.5 million currently to 16 million by 2050.
“’We must work to promote Alzheimer’s prevention, enhance access to treatment, improve patients’ quality of life, and find ways to end Alzheimer’s before it claims more lives,’ Cortez Masto said.”