Landmark Legislation to Combat Alzheimer’s to be Signed into Law

By developing a public health approach, this legislation will improve prevention, treatment, and care for Alzheimer’s

Approximately 5.5 million Americans—and 28,000 Mainers—are currently living with this disease

 

Washington, D.C. - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, legislation authored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Tim Kaine (D-VA).  This bipartisan bill will, for the first time, create a public health infrastructure across the country to combat Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain health.  The BOLD Act also passed the Senate unanimously and now awaits the President’s signature.

 

“Alzheimer’s disease is one of the greatest and most under-recognized public health threats of our time.  Millions of Americans and thousands of Mainers are living with the disease, and that number is soaring as our overall population grows older and lives longer,” said Senator Collins, a founder and Senate co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease.  “After decades of increasing investments in biomedical research for Alzheimer’s, we are ready for the next step: to translate research into practice.  The BOLD Act takes a multi-pronged public health approach that will create a modern infrastructure for the prevention, treatment, and care of Alzheimer’s and related dementias.  I am proud of the overwhelming bipartisan support our legislation received in Congress and in communities across the nation.  BOLD brings us to the brink of a brighter day for Alzheimer’s, and I look forward to it being signed into law.”

 

“The BOLD Act is the first step in addressing the ongoing public health crisis that is currently affecting more than five million Americans. I’m proud to have introduced this bipartisan legislation with my colleagues that will improve early detection and diagnosis, support caregivers and educate the public on Alzheimer’s disease and brain health,” said Senator Cortez Masto. This important legislation will support Nevadans struggling with Alzheimer’s and their families and I will continue to be a fierce champion for ending Alzheimer’s before it claims more lives.”

 

“To prevent millions of more Americans and their families from being devastated by Alzheimer’s, we have to tackle this disease on all fronts. With the BOLD Act, we can empower our federal and state public health infrastructure to play an expanded role and we can better understand the true scope of this disease,” Senator Capito said.  “This is a very personal priority for me, and I’m so glad to see it head to the president’s desk. It’s a great step for those living with Alzheimer’s, as well as all those who care for and love them.”

 

“My family, like nearly 150,000 Virginia families, knows what it’s like to have a loved one with Alzheimer’s. As I’ve shared my story, it seems as though every colleague I have in the Senate and everybody I talk to out in the community has an Alzheimer’s story that’s very close to them,” Kaine said. “The number of people who have Alzheimer’s in this country is already huge, and it’s frightening to look at what the projections are in the next ten or twenty years. I’m proud that this bipartisan bill will help strengthen the public health response to Alzheimer’s so we can provide much-needed relief to those affected by this devastating disease now and in the years to come.”

 

Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives, which is cosponsored by 254 members.

 

“Over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and sadly, that number is only expected to go up. I have met with countless Kentuckians who either know someone with Alzheimer’s, or they themselves are suffering with Alzheimer’s. The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act is an important step for helping those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias receive the best care possible. I want to thank Senators Collins, Cortez Masto, Capito, and Kaine for their hard work getting this bill passed in the Senate. I want to also thank my colleague Paul Tonko who led the bill efforts with me in the House.  I look forward to seeing this bill signed into law so we can provide relief for people suffering from Alzheimer’s,” said Congressman Brett Guthrie

 

“This bill promises to improve the lives of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and reduce the public health burden of this disease on our communities,” said Congressman Paul Tonko. “Building on our success in past Congresses with the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act and the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, this bill represents another giant step forward, driving investments in Alzheimer’s infrastructure that will advance public health research and promote prevention, early detection and diagnosis all leading to lower costs and better care. I’m proud to celebrate this bill’s passage alongside my fellow Alzheimer’s champions and look forward to seeing this important legislation signed into law.”

 

“Today is an historic day in the fight against Alzheimer’s. With the passage of the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, our nation will be implementing effective Alzheimer’s public health interventions and improve the lives of millions of Americans,” said Alzheimer’s Association Chief Public Policy Officer, Robert Egge. “We are thankful to Sen. Collins for introducing this innovative bipartisan bill and to the more than half of Congress who signed on as a cosponsor.” 

 

Approximately 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and the disease costs the United States more than $277 billion per year, including $186 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Without further action, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to triple to as many as 14 million by 2050, costing the nation more than $1.1 trillion per year. 

 

This legislation would apply a public health approach to reduce risk, detect early symptoms, advance care, improve data, and ultimately change the trajectory of this devastating disease. Headed by the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), it would authorize $20 million annually over the next five years to establish:

 

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Public Health Centers of Excellence dedicated to promoting effective Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving interventions as well as educating the public on Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, and brain health.  The centers would implement the CDC’s Healthy Aging Public Health Road Map, and would take key steps to support health and social services professionals as well as families and communities.

 

  1. Cooperative Agreements with the CDC that would be awarded to State Health Departments to help them meet local needs in promoting brain health, reducing risk of cognitive decline, improving care for those with Alzheimer’s, and other key public health activities.  

 

  1. Data Grants to improve the analysis and timely reporting of data on Alzheimer’s, cognitive decline, caregiving, and health disparities at the state and national levels.

 

The BOLD Act was introduced by Senators Collins, Cortez Masto, Capito, and Kaine last year and is cosponsored by a total of 58 Senators and supported by 181 organizations and individuals, including the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, and Maria Shriver, founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.