Report: $1 billion annually for Alzheimer's research will save government, taxpayers

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The Alzheimer's Association contends there will be nearly three million fewer Americans with Alzheimer's by 2025, thus saving Medicaid and Medicare $149 billion annually -- provided Congress allocates $1 billion annually for Alzheimer's research at the National Institutes of Health. This is according to an Alzheimer's Association report released Thursday.

Medicare beneficiaries with Alzheimer's account for 34% of Medicare spending, even though they constitute only 12.8% of the population over the age of 65, the report said.

If projected research breakthroughs occur by 2010, taxpayers would begin to see savings as early as 2015. At the same time, Medicare spending would decline by $51 billion to $138 billion, the report says.
 
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Labor Health and Human Services Subcommittee, said he would back the association.  Last week Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Christopher Bond (R-MO) introduced legislation that would authorize a doubling of annual research spending to $1.4 billion. Congressmen Ed Markey (D-MA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

The Lewin Group, an international health and human services consulting firm, conducted the analysis, entitled "Saving Lives, Saving Money: Dividends for Americans from Investing." Pharmaceutical manufacturers association PhRMA gave the Alzheimer's Association an unrestricted grant.