Washington (November 7, 2013) – As the country commemorates November as National Alzheimer’s Awareness month, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) has been announced as the new Senate co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. Senator Markey was co-chair of the Task Force with Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) when he served in the House of Representatives. While in the House, then-Rep. Markey co-authored the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which mandated the development of a first-ever comprehensive National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. The plan includes the bold national goal of preventing or treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025 and represents an historic commitment by the federal government to tackling a disease that cost $140 billion from Medicare and Medicaid to care for Alzheimer’s patients last year. Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) were co-authors of the Senate legislation.
“I am honored to join Senators Warner and Collins on the Task Force to continue our work helping to find a cure to Alzheimer’s,” said Senator Markey. “Remarkable progress has been made in the past several years to bring an end to the devastation wrought by Alzheimer’s, including passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act and setting the critical goal of curing this disease in the next two decades. Our national plan is fueling the urgency and research needed to combat the disease that is affecting millions of Americans and costing our country billions.”
“I am happy to welcome Senator Markey as a co-chair of our bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease,” said Senator Warner. “In 2010 I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s. She – and our family – had suffered from this terrible disease for more than ten years, so I understand what millions of Americans are up against. I look forward to working with my co-chairs to conquer the disease that has affected so many families across the country.”
Alzheimer’s alone costs the United States $200 billion a year, including $105 billion from Medicare – that’s 18 percent of Medicare’s entire budget. Already five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, and the trajectory of the disease over the next few decades threatens to overwhelm our ability to treat and care for these patients. The number of individuals with Alzheimer’s will increase to an estimated 13 to 16 million, and the costs to Medicare and Medicaid will be more than $800 billion in today’s dollars.
In the House of Representatives, then-Rep. Markey was a leader in the fight to find a cure to Alzheimer’s disease. Markey introduced the bipartisan Spending Reductions Through Innovations in Therapies (SPRINT) Act, which would spur innovation in research and drug development for high-cost, chronic health conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Markey also authored the Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (H.O.P.E.) Act to encourage early Alzheimer’s diagnoses and connect caregivers to information and resources. In 2011, Markey and Rep. Smith introduced the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act, which would require the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a strategic plan to expedite therapeutic outcomes for those with or at risk of Alzheimer’s disease and coordinate Alzheimer’s research within the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health and across all Centers and Institutes of the NIH.
Cure Alzheimer’s Fund congratulates Markey on his new appointment, and thanks him for his years of tireless efforts as a champion of the Alzheimer’s cause in Congress.