Clinton proposes $2B plan to cure Alzheimer’s by 2025

Lisa Lerer
Associated Press

Washington – — Hillary Clinton announced Tuesday a $2 billion annual effort to cure Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, calling for doubling federal spending to combat the illness.

The Democratic front-runner plans to introduce her proposal in Iowa during her last presidential campaign swing before the holidays. The funding is coupled with proposals to aid the 15 million Americans caring for those afflicted by the illness.

The proposal marks the first time a presidential candidate has made combating Alzheimer’s a campaign issue, according to advocates, and is part of a larger effort by Clinton to increasing funding for health research.

“We owe it to the millions of families who stay up at night worrying about their loved ones afflicted by this terrible disease and facing the hard reality of the long goodbye to make research investments that will prevent, effectively treat and make a cure possible by 2025,” Clinton said.

“Hillary Clinton’s plan to double down on funding for medical research and support my HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act is the one-two punch needed to help individuals and families coping with Alzheimer’s,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing.

Five million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a number that’s expected to increase to 15 million by 2050. The disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and disproportionally impacts minorities and women. Two out of three Alzheimer’s patents are women.

Clinton’s plan would guarantee consistent funding so researchers can work toward advancing treatment, not only for Alzheimer’s but other neurodegenerative illness including Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. She would also try and ease the burden facing caregivers by expanding Medicare to cover care-planning sessions.

Clinton will pay for her plan by closing tax loopholes, though her campaign did not specific which ones.

“Our single bottle-neck has been funding. We are budget-constrained not a knowledge-constrained field,” said Alzheimer’s expert Rudolph Tanzi, who discovered many of the genes leading to Alzheimer’s and oversees a research center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Last year, the government spent $586 million on the disease.

Clinton’s proposals for new and expanded government programs would cost at least $1.1 trillion over 10 years as she looks to pump billions of additional dollars into reducing college costs, increasing treatment for drug addiction and helping employers pay for mandatory family and sick leave.

In many cases, Clinton’s presidential campaign does not lay out specifically how she would pay for the new programs and expanded spending, calculated by McClatchy news agency after an examination of her 17 proposals to date.

Political observers say Clinton’s failure to fully explain how she would pay for new and expanded government programs is unlikely to harm her in the Democratic primary.

“The day of reckoning is coming for Clinton to disclose how she will pay for her enormous tab,” says the Republican National Committee. “There is simply no way she will be able to do so without taxing the middle class.”

Clinton says she wants to impose new taxes on wealthy Americans, not the middle class, while offering a range of tax cuts that would increase take-home pay for middle-class families.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s insults against Clinton prompted the Democratic presidential front-runner on Tuesday to lambaste her Republican counterpart as a bully.

“We shouldn’t let anybody bully his way into the presidency because that is not who we are as Americans,” Clinton said at a town hall in Keota, Iowa, one day after Trump told a rally in Michigan that “she was favored to win, and she got schlonged” by President Barack Obama in the 2008 election, using Yiddish slang for male genitalia. He also called her late return from a restroom break during Saturday night’s Democratic debate “disgusting.”

While Clinton didn’t directly address Trump’s language, she didn’t shy away from noting that she’s often been the target of attacks. “You are looking at somebody who’s had a lot of terrible things said about me,” the candidate said in response to a young girl’s comments about being bullied, which came at the tail end of a question-and-answer session. “You just say it and you send it around the world.”

McClatchy Washington Bureau, Bloomberg News and Staff Writer Melissa Burke contributed.