Alzheimer’s Association Report Predicts Soaring Costs

A new report released by the Alzheimer’s Association on Thursday, Feb. 5, projects health care costs associated with the disease will skyrocket in the coming years. The report, Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer’s Disease: How a Treatment by 2025 Saves Lives and Dollars, predicts that Medicare and Medicaid costs related to Alzheimer’s will more than double by 2030 and will nearly quintuple by 2050.

Currently, there is no treatment for the disease, which is fatal and can cause memory loss and the inability to speak or perform tasks. The report suggests that the U.S. could save $220 billion within the first five years if a treatment were to be introduced. In addition, the report predicts that if a treatment were introduced by 2025, the number of people with the disease would be reduced by 2.5 million within the first five years.

The association is asking the federal government to invest $2 billion per year to find a treatment. Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, said in a statement: “Promising research is ready for the pipeline, and leading scientists believe the national goal is attainable if we accelerate federal funding. With millions of lives and trillions of dollars at stake, we need real progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s.”

In the spending bill passed in December of 2014, Congress increased funding for Alzheimer’s research by $25 million, bringing the 2015 total to $591 million. Although that is still short of the $2 billion goal, the increase is a sign that the group’s message is resonating, according to Robert Egge, the association’s chief policy officer, as reported by The Hill.

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