On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, Pennsylvania State Senator Pat Toomey led a Senate Finance Subcommittee hearing to address the difficult challenges of patients, family members, and the Medicare program caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Senator Toomey urged the subcommittee to review four key areas – improving accurate diagnosis, support for caregivers, encouraging long-term care financial planning, and most of all, the need for a cure.
“Alzheimer’s is in a category of its own in terms of its breadth, lethality, and the severity of the disease. We estimate 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer’s. It’s 100 percent fatal,” he explained in his opening remarks, also stating:
“The NIH budget is about $32 billion per year. Alzheimer’s research receives less than three percent of the funding. The fact is there are other non-fatal and treatable diseases that receive far more resources in their research. I think we need to increase our Alzheimer’s research, and we need to do it in a fiscally responsible way.”
In 2014, Senator Toomey visited the University of Pennsylvania for a tour of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR), a center dedicated to promoting and conducting multidisciplinary clinical and basic research on the causes and progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), and more.
For Senator Toomey, Alzheimer’s is not just an important public health concern. With a father who is currently battling Alzheimer’s and a grandmother who lost her life to the disease, it is personal as well. Senator Toomey is an avid Alzheimer’s advocate and has met with caregivers across Pennsylvania hearing their stories and sharing his own with the goal working together to end this debilitating condition. He serves as Co-Chair on the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and continues to stress the need to increased research funding.