Medicare In Danger

Aneesia Dejurnett, Staff Writer

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One in ten people, ages 65 or older, has Alzheimer’s dementia. As of today, it is estimated that someone develops Alzheimer’s every 66 seconds; the rate is expected to reach 33 seconds by the year 2050.

“What is driving these numbers is that there is no disease-modifying treatment, no prevention, and no cure. And while U.S. deaths from Alzheimer’s have doubled in the last 15 years, an increase of 89%, deaths from other major diseases have been declining,” Ruth Drew, the director of family and information services for the Alzheimer’s Association stated. She said that deaths from things such as heart disease, the top killer of Americans, have even gone down.

Funding is the main obstacle preventing us from finding out more about the disease. Rudy Tanzi, a Harvard professor of neurology said, “We are a knowledge-rich yet budget-constrained field. We have many clues about how to stop Alzheimer’s, especially from recent genetic studies, but insufficient funds to explore how.”

In the long run, experts say that the about $259 billion will be used to support and care for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias without funding or a breakthrough. In the future, Alzheimer’s will begin affecting more people which will lead to the eventual bankrupting of Medicare.

“A lot of people think that ‘Alzheimer’s doesn’t affect me because I’m not old’ or ‘I don’t have it in my family, so it’s really not my problem,’ ” Drew said. “What we’ve come to understand is, if you have a brain, you’re at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.”

 

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Medicare In Danger