Finally, there’s something to cheer about in the government’s budget! Last week, President Obama signed into law the largest increase in Alzheimer’s funding in history, which will be implemented in Fiscal Year 2014. A record $122 million increase will go toward research, support, and services for those with Alzheimer’s and their families.
Before you start wondering where the heck that money’s going to come from and what programs got the short end of the stick at the expense of this increase, take a deep breath and tip a Guinness with me to celebrate this genuinely good news.
I don’t care what time it is when you read this. This deserves a toast with a beer you can chew, because this funding bill has teeth.
Here’s where the money’s going:
- $100 million increase for the National Institute on Aging for Alzheimer’s research
- $3.3 million increase to support Alzheimer’s caregivers
- $4 million to train health providers in Alzheimer’s best practices
- $10.5 million to expand home and community based services for caregivers
- $4.2 million for outreach with the purpose of raising awareness
When I say we should give three cheers for this achievement, I’m being literal. You see, I’m a compulsive sort and I like to be specific. So here are my three cheers for a record increase in Alzheimer’s funding:
It could save the healthcare system. Did you know that for every $27,000 spent on Medicare and Medicaid to care for people with Alzheimer’s, the National Institutes of Health has only $100 to spend on Alzheimer’s research? This is outright terrifying considering that if a cure is not found by 2050, Alzheimer’s is projected to cost us $1.2 trillion per year. Alzheimer’s is this country’s most expensive disease. Investing in a cure now could save our healthcare system from bankruptcy in the very near future.
It could strengthen corporations and small businesses alike. Did you know that many Alzheimer’s caregivers also work full- or part-time? Yet the toll of the disease – and the shortage of home and community based care services – forces them to miss work or to work at an impaired capacity. This ultimately hurts the productivity and profitability of businesses. By providing more caregiver support, the recent funding increase can help sustain the workforce our economy needs to start thriving again.
It’s the right thing to do. If you have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease in any way – in your family, in your faith community, in your workplace – you recognize the moral imperative to address this issue, fearlessly and competently. Not doing something is not an option. I am truly grateful for this passage of funding, and I pray that it leads to the answers we so desperately need.
Ready for that Guinness? Cheers!
Alzheimer’s Association (January 17, 2014). Record $122 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease signed into law by President Obama.
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