BALTIMORE — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Health Care Subcommittee, spoke recently on the floor of the United States Senate on the importance of National Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.
“Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease that takes a high physical, financial, and emotional toll on the individuals diagnosed, as well as their loved ones. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Yet of the top ten fatal illnesses it is the only disease you cannot prevent, cure or slow. As many of us know, Alzheimer’s can deplete a family’s savings and rob loved ones of cherished memories.
“In 2014, the total cost of Alzheimer’s was $214 billion, including $150 billion to Medicare and Medicaid. During that same year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invested only 0.25 percent of that amount – $566 million – in Alzheimer’s research. Nearly one in every five Medicare dollars is spent on people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Unless something is done, by 2050, it will be one in every three dollars. We must provide the NIH with robust, sustained funding to allow it to invest more in the Alzheimer’s research that is so desperately needed.
“Maryland is on the front lines in the fight against the disease. The NIH, Johns Hopkins and a host of nonprofit organizations are making progress on understanding how to best counter the disease and address the needs of those currently living with Alzheimer’s. They are the best in the world, but they cannot do it alone.
“This June, in honor of National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, let us resolve to give those suffering, as well as their families, caregivers and researchers the support they need. Now is the time to band together and ensure that we don’t waste a single opportunity to fight back against such a merciless disease.”