Passionate Advocates Paint Hearing Purple

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 14, 2024 — Joanne Pike, DrPH, Alzheimer’s Association president and CEO and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) CEO, testified during a House hearing today urging support for important bipartisan Alzheimer’s policy priorities. A passionate presence of purple Alzheimer’s Association and AIM advocates attended the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing to show their support for these critical Alzheimer’s policies.

The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Reauthorization Act (H.R. 7218 / S. 3775), the NAPA Reauthorization Act (H.R. 619 / S. 133) and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act (H.R. 620 / S. 134) will build momentum in our nation’s fight against Alzheimer’s and other dementia. In addition, the committee discussed legislation aimed at reauthorizing a critical lifespan respite care program, an issue of critical importance to Alzheimer’s family caregivers. 

“The swift enactment of these four bipartisan bills will enable further strides in understanding, treating, and ultimately preventing Alzheimer's and other dementia,” Pike said. “We have so much to be excited and hopeful about. We know — many of us personally — how important these advancements are for real people — our families, our friends, our neighbors.”

The BOLD Reauthorization Act will build on the critical work of the original Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (P.L.115-406), which has been creating and growing a public health infrastructure for dementia in communities throughout the nation. Because of BOLD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is able to provide funding to state, local and tribal public health departments. These departments utilize the funding to implement effective dementia interventions such as reducing risk, increasing early detection and diagnosis, and supporting the needs of caregivers.

The NAPA Reauthorization Act would extend the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) (P.L. 111-375), a landmark piece of legislation signed into law in 2011. NAPA led the way for additional policy victories and fundamentally changed the way our nation addresses Alzheimer’s and other dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act builds on the original Alzheimer’s Accountability Act, which was first enacted in 2014, to ensure Congress continues to hear directly from scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on what resources are needed to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's.

With these key pieces of legislation set to expire, updated legislation is urgently needed. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle welcomed Pike and Alzheimer’s Association advocates, and voiced their support for reauthorizing these bipartisan bills. 

“Since my first days in Congress, I've pushed for strong action to support those living with Alzheimer's by driving medical research, federal coordination, early detection and public health infrastructure. And of course, support for caregivers,” said Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.). “I invite all of my colleagues here to support NAPA reauthorization, BOLD reauthorization, and the Alzheimer's Accountability and Investment Act to continue our fight against Alzheimer's and to support the millions of Americans living with this devastating disease.” 

“My bipartisan bill, [the BOLD Reauthorization Act], will continue programming to ensure individuals living with Alzheimer’s have access to the highest quality of health care while building on efforts to identify and diagnose the disease sooner,” said Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-Ken.). “The BOLD Reauthorization Act also includes educational resources for caregivers to help ease the challenges of those caring for their loved ones with this vicious disease. These continued investments are even more important now that we have treatments to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and will help to ensure patients and their families have more time together.” 

“To all of the advocates in the hearing room today, you need to know that you are the oxygen of all of these efforts,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.). 

Additionally, several members shared their personal connections to the disease and voiced their strong support for advancing these key Alzheimer’s policy priorities. 

“Investing in advanced diagnostics and innovative treatments is deeply personal to me and many of the families of my constituents across my district,” said Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.). “I urge my colleagues to support reauthorizing these important programs to fund continued research and improve early screening, prevention and treatment, now that it's available, while we work to find a cure for Alzheimer's.” 

“Dr. Pike, I’m thankful you’re here and have been such a strong advocate for Alzheimer’s patients, something that’s been really dear to my heart. My mom is suffering from Alzheimer's disease,” said Rep. Gus Billirakis (R-Fla.). “I was proud to recently cosponsor Representative Tonko’s NAPA Reauthorization Act, which extends the National Alzheimer's Project Act.”

“I am no stranger to being a caregiver. I am one for my mother who has Alzheimer’s,” said Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.). “It’s so important that we look to see how we can support not just our patients but our caregivers and their families as well.” 

Thanks to bipartisan support from members of Congress and the hard work and dedication of Alzheimer’s advocates, committee members discussed these three bills and reached a critical milestone in the legislative process. 

“By advancing the BOLD Reauthorization Act, the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act, Congress will build on the momentum in our nation’s fight against Alzheimer’s and other dementia,” Pike said. “Thank you to the subcommittee members today and all of the bipartisan congressional champions for their longstanding support for the Alzheimer’s community."

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