With the 2016 US Presidential election nearing a close, everyone in my social circles seems to be talking about it. Even though I haven’t lived in the US for 11 years, the election is a main topic both with my friends and family in the US and those here in Denmark.
But, not many are asking about how the election will effect dementia research or services for people effected by the syndrome.
I have received my absentee ballot and have started filling it out. I am actually quite happy that I use an absentee ballot (although the process to register and receive my absentee ballots has become more difficult since the fight to end – the very very small percentage of – voter fraud), because it gives me the opportunity to read up on the candidates and the issues before making my decision. Something I couldn’t do on the spot if I were voting in person (although the candidates and issues are given for each state ahead of time on Ballotpedia and other websites, so all citizens can make informed choices).
As Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is one of my favorite topics and a highly relevant issue for any politician these days, I decided to read up on what the candidates had planned to address dementia.
Why does this issue matter?
More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease, and another 15 million Americans are providing care. It’s the most expensive disease in the nation at a cost of $236 billion annually to taxpayers, with the majority – $160 billion – coming from Medicare and Medicaid. So this is an issue that attracts a wide-range of candidates and voters. Source: https://www.researchgate.net/blog/post/why-clinton-and-trump-are-both-talking-about-alzheimers-research
73 MILLION voters have had a family member or close friend with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is already America’s most expensive disease, costing the country more each year than cancer or heart disease. And, Alzheimer’s disease remains the only cause of death among the nation’s top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed. The latest research reveals more than 28 million baby boomers are expected to develop Alzheimer’s between now and midcentury, dramatically increasing already overwhelming costs further – for both voters and the government. Source: alz.org
Let’s start with the two main candidates, Clinton and Trump. Bloomberg BNA reports:
On Dec. 22, 2015, Clinton presented a plan to cure Alzheimer’s disease by 2025… Clinton has offered a $20 billion plan to produce a cure for Alzheimer’s in nine years, and Trump has—in answer to a question—said he strongly supports research funding in this area but offered no specifics. Clinton has said she has no personal connection to the disease. Trump’s father died of it.
According to Hilary Clinton’s official website, hilaryclinton.com, as president, her plan is to:
- Commit to preventing, effectively treating, and making a cure possible for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.
- Invest $2 billion per year in research for Alzheimer’s and related disorders, the level leading researchers have determined necessary to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s and make a cure possible by 2025.
- Make sure that funding is reliable and consistent so researchers can work steadily toward effective treatment.
- Put the best and brightest on the case. Hillary will appoint a top-flight team of research and health experts to oversee this ambitious initiative.
- Make it easier for families and individuals with Alzheimer’s to get the care they need. Medicare should cover comprehensive Alzheimer’s care-planning sessions and the cost of properly documenting every diagnosis and care plan.
- Help protect loved ones who wander. Hillary will work with Congress to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program to help find individuals who are reported missing.
- Ensure our seniors are aware and can take advantage of their Medicare benefits. Hillary will direct the Social Security Administration to raise awareness about the wellness visits, cognitive screenings, and other preventive benefits covered by Medicare.
There is no information on Donald Trump’s official website on his plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
There is no information on Gary Johnson’s official website on his plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
There is no information on Darrell Castle’s official website on his plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
And, if don’t live in one of the 9 states which DO NOT allow to write in a candidate other than the 4 aforementioned…. (FYI my home state of South Dakota does not allow write-in voting).
There is no information on Jill Stein’s official website on her plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
There is no information on Evan McMullin’s official website on his plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
There is no information on Gloria LaRiva’s official website on her plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
There is no information on Rocky De La Fuente’s official website on his plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
This was quite the disappointing research project, I must admit. With much talk about older Americans and women in this election (who are the majority of both formal and informal carers for someone living with dementia, as well as more women having dementia than men), I am really surprised at the lack of discussion and positions on addressing this multi-billion dollar (and growing!) issue.