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Kennedy Supports the Fight to End Alzheimer's Disease

Apr 24, 2017 02:10PM ● By Pamela Johnson

Shown (l-r): Daniel Zotos, Ayah Roda, Alexis Dandreta, Congressman Joe Kennedy III, Mike Belleville, Cheryl Belleville.

Constituents from Dover and Bellingham as well as  Alzheimer’s Association Public Policy staff members met with Congressman Joe Kennedy III to thank him for his support of the HOPE  Act in the last Congress, which led to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to  pay for cognitive assessment and care planning for persons with cognitive impairment.

We handed over District 4 advocacy cards collected at the WALKS to END Alzheimer's. This served as a prelude to the Alzheimer's Advocacy Forum on March 29, 2017 in Washington D.C. where over 1,200 advocates/constituents from 50 states will meet with their members of Congress to continue to advocate for increased research funding and The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act  which addresses quality care/ life for those with a serious illness  nearing the end of life. 

Alzheimer's/dementia is costing Medicare and Medicaid $160 billion per year and is the only leading cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed. By mid century, the cost will quadruple to $1.1 trillion as the number of people with the disease will nearly triple. With family members and friends afflicted with dementia, I have experienced firsthand the emotional as well as financial toll of this disease.

Thanks to legislators like Congressman Kennedy, Alzheimer's research funding has increased to $991 million, but that is still well short of the $2 billion that experts at the NIH say is needed to prevent and effectively treat this disease by 2025.  The fight against Alzheimer's has been a source of unity among democrats and republicans. A $400 million increase in research funding for FY17 passed  in the 114th Congress and is awaiting action. On March 29, advocates will ask their representatives for an additional $414M for FY18.  This is a great place for Democrats and Republicans to come together to revive hope and optimism for the millions of Americans afflicted with this disease, 120,000 of whom reside in the Commonwealth.





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