Nation Faces Stiff Bill in Alzheimer’s Care

Alzheimer’s advocates are warning that Medicare and the national health system will be swamped by costs and patient loads in the coming years if no action is taken to prepare for a projected huge increase in the caseload as baby boomers enter their senior years.

At a major conference on the mind-wasting disease held in Washington this week, Alzheimer’s experts and lawmakers said that a failure by the federal government to spend money on research and prevention in the very short term could mean societal costs will grow exponentially in the next decade.

“It will cost us more in the long run if we don’t invest now,” said Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma Republican. “Alzheimer’s is probably the most expensive single disease that we have with no cure.”

A recent survey by the Alzheimer’s Association projects that, by 2050, 50 percent of baby boomers (or 28 million individuals) will develop Alzheimer’s, consuming nearly 25 percent of all Medicare spending. The looming bill was the focus of a major panel discussion Tuesday at this week’s gathering featuring both lawmakers and leading researchers.