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Tulsa World Editorial: Alzheimer's funding: U.S. Rep. Tom Cole leads the way

December 28, 2015
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Tulsa World Editorial 

Sixty-thousand Oklahomans live with Alzheimer’s disease and thousands of other relatives and professionals care for those afflicted with this terrifying and incurable condition.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, a champion of Alzheimer’s research, did not forget those Americans and those Oklahomans battling the disease. He led the charge earlier this month to obtain the largest Alzheimer’s funding victory in history. With his help, Congress included a $350 million per year increase in Alzheimer’s research funding in the omnibus federal funding bill.

The only member of the Oklahoma congressional delegation to vote against the funding bill was U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, who objected to the bill’s failure to deal with critical issues including defunding “Obamacare” and Planned Parenthood.

The research is absolutely crucial. Medicare spending on people with Alzheimer’s will more than quadruple in just over a generation, to $589 billion annually in 2050.

Treatment that would delay onset of the disease by just five years would save Medicare $345 billion in the first 10 years alone.

Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death among the nation’s top 10 diseases that cannot be prevented cured or slowed. More than five million Americans suffer from the disease, tended by 15 million caregivers.

Alzheimer’s disease is not just a terrible, debilitating death sentence for those dealing with it, but also a threat to the national economy and the ability of the federal health-care system to sustain itself.

We must go beyond losing sleep about the challenges to an aging society to restructuring our priorities and our expectations and taking responsibility for the future.

Passage of the increased and dedicated landmark Alzheimer’s funding is an enormous step in that direction.

Thank you, Rep. Cole, for leading the way.

Online: Tulsa World