The spending bill passed by the Senate on Thursday would increase funding for Alzheimer’s research by $425 million, to $2.3 billion total — “essentially quadrupling spending levels from four years ago on a disease that requires hundreds of billions of dollars for dementia-related care,” according to the Associated Press.
The hope is that increased spending on research now can help prevent a huge rise in the cost of the disease, both in terms of lives and dollars, as the population ages. “Every hour, Alzheimer's disease costs taxpayers at least $21 million. Every single hour,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee on labor and health. “We're spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $277 billion tax dollars a year on Alzheimer's and dementia-related care.”
Blunt noted that if progress isn’t made on Alzheimer’s, by 2050 the country will be spending $1.1 trillion on Alzheimer’s and dementia care — or about double last year’s defense budget. “If we could delay onset by an average of five years,” he said, “we’d cut that $1.1 trillion by 42 percent, almost in half.”