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Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act 0f 2009

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Introduction

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological brain disorder. It is named after a German physician known as Alois Alzheimer, who first noted it in 1906 from his patient Auguste Deter. It is the most common form of dementia. Dementia literally means loss of thinking. This disease is characterized with progressive memory loss, impairment of judgment, and decline in the ability to perform routine tasks, difficulty in learning, disorientation, loss of language skills, and personality changes. The loss of brain cells ultimately leads to the failure of other systems in the body (OTA report, 1987).

The Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act was enacted in 2009. The aim this act was to fund breakthroughs in Alzheimer's disease research while providing more help to caregivers and increasing public education about prevention.

Policy Analysis

The goals of the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act of 2009 are captured in three titles which are clearly outlined in the policy. The first goal was to increase federal government commitment to Alzheimer’s research. The federal government intended to achieve this through: doubling its funding on research related to the disease; prioritizing research on the disease; having prevention initiatives; launching a

national summit on Alzheimer’s disease and finally initiating research on Alzheimer’s disease care giving.

The second goal was the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and thus promoting public health. The federal government intended to achieve this through: enhanced public health activities related to cognitive health; launching Alzheimer’s disease public education campaign. The third major aim of this policy was to offer assistance for caregivers. These goals do not contravene any policies on public health and thus would be rendered legal (OTA report, 1987).

A glance at the statistics stated in the policy at the time of its reading, show that the mechanisms that the federal government intended to adopt were the most satisfying. They were well capable even to meet the social problems that ensued in the county as a result of the Alzheimer disease. For example, the reason why there was then need to increase commitment in research and also find scientific ways to prevent or cure the disease was because a projection showed that by 2050, the number of individuals with the disease could reach 16,000,000. The mechanisms outlined at the time of the policy reading were adequate to combat the social problems that came as a result of the disease (World Health Organization, 2010).

This policy cuts across all the ages affected by the Alzheimer. It considers the young who are least likely to be affected by the disease, those above 65 years and those above 85 years. It leaves no one out. It does not segregate against the rich or poor. In fact, the federal government has adopted the most socialist way of dealing with the problem.

This policy promotes the general good of the society. This is because it offers a chance for all to be supported if not be treated as we all know this disease has no cure. It has no prejudice against the social or financial status of any individual. However, such a welfare policy does frequently crumble due to lack of necessary funding. This can be sidestepped by outlining and following a good financial support plan that engages the public (IOM, 2009).

A look at how the policy was to be and is administered, there an obvious sense of adequacy and equity. However, this does not necessarily reflect today as score of patients have their bills not settled. Thus, though the federal government has documented intentions to take care of its entire affected population, it is not in a capacity to do so. The problem is obviously finances. From the data collected, if there is no increased funding then the policy might just crumble in the next few years. To achieve an improved quality of life among its targeted population, the federal government may want to seek more funding through other channels.

One of the underlying values captured in this document is commitment. We see a nation committed to give life to it its citizens. There are careful, well laid out implementation strategies mentioned which if well exploited would be very beneficial. The target population though large and increasing by the day, the federal government has tried to met it with a higher number of staff. This value is well in line with the very essence of social justice.

There is also an aspect of socialism, a political ideology, adopted in this policy. And thus far the government has put in place an estimated funding of up to the tune of $2 billion to meet it. The greatest befit from this policy is to them that are affected. It is not to the wealthy class alone but also to the poor. These results are part of that which this research sought to achieve. There is no result whatsoever unintended.

Political feasibility

Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act 0f 2009 has had a wide range of support in the American community .The support has come from the government officials, the public especially relatives and care takers of the patients of Alzheimer’s disease, nongovernmental organizations and the international community. The support for the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act of 2009 mainly came from the citizens who viewed the act as a breakthrough towards government involvement in finding the cure and apportioning part of the budget towards research for the cure to the disease and welfare support to those affected.

The American citizens had a large power base since they had to elect members of congress in future elections .This held the politicians in affix since failure to support the act the politician would be viewed as an ant- reformist legislator to the medical sector which is a crucial sector of the country since it touches on the life of every citizen of the United states (Gingrich & Egge, 2007).

In the United States the passing of the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act 0f 2009 received a mixture of reactions from the citizens. For  families with people affected and the medical staff involved in the treatment and care of the affected the act was a blessing since the recognition of the Alzheimer's disease as a major problem in the united states .This act had come to assist the researchers with the required monies towards cure which would bring to an end any further suffering to those affected by the Alzheimer's disease in the United states as well as the in other nations which share research information with the United states.

In the passing of this act the American law makers put into consideration the less privileged, in terms of health in the American society. This furthered the agenda of equity in the American society through creating a rule that caters for the plight of the patients their caretakers and caters for the research towards the disease.

The passing of the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act 0f 2009 also faced some criticism from the American society concerning the resulting impacts of the research findings once administered on the patients. Some parties viewed the search for the cure of a widely spreading disease in the United States could result to the mutation of the disease causing microorganisms resulting to more resistant strains. There was also some critics who viewed the amount of cash spent on the research of the Alzheimer's disease would strain other sectors of the American society causing undesirable effects to the rest of the population. According to ethical universalism the act is unethical (World Health Organization, 2010).

In the American states the policy supports the prevailing norms by encouraging the care of less privileged and the sick in society. This pushes forward the United States agenda of providing equal opportunity to all citizens. This also helps to test the welfare awareness of the government and the level of commitment towards the implementation of policies improving people’s welfare.

Alzheimer's breakthrough Act 0f 2009 merges with the current government systems, social and political climate which is mainly aimed at solving the internal problems in the United States as well as solving foreign problems. This has ensured the American legislators have unwavering support from their electorate (Gingrich and Kerrey, 2009).

Economic Feasibility

Apart from Alzheimer’s disease being a social burden to the US, it is also an economic one as well. The cost of taking care of an individual suffering from this disease is becoming overwhelming. ‘The minimum level of funding needed to implement this policy is also far over stretching. For the fiscal year 2010, the federal government needed $2, billion, and such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2014. These would be for the purpose of conducting and supporting the research on Alzheimer’s disease and other related activities as envisaged in under subpart 5 of part C of title IV of the Public Health Service Act’ (World Health Organization, 2010).

The figure stated above is just but the minimum. An estimate as at 2010 showed that it would cost the nation more than $172 billion in health care, long-term care, and hospice services. This funding does not exist in the first place. The number of people providing unpaid care for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s is more than 10.9 million. Including g the indirect cost skyrockets the annual cost high enough to potentially bankrupt the nation's entire health care system.

In future there would be need to raise more funds from the public to offer support to the failing budget. There is also need to recruit more caregivers as their ratio to that of the patients is disturbing. There would also be need for support from the public in the subsequent years to persuade Congress for additional Alzheimer funding.

Administrative Feasibility

Part of the plan in the policy was to establish Alzheimer’s call center. This was meant to provide assistance to the caregivers. The CommentsClose CommentsPermalinkthe call ThhhhthetrjkgkvkeCall Centers are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at the national and local levels. Their role is to provide information, care consultation, expert advice and referrals regarding Alzheimer’s disease. The staffs are professionally trained and this alludes to the overwhelming success thus far. They possess the necessary skills, expertise and the resources as the federal government was to  appropriated $1,000,000 for fiscal year 2010, and such sums as may subsequent years through to 2014.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink

The staffs are very supportive and passionate towards the delivery of this policy. The challenge is that they are few in number compared to the number of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They are out rightly the best suited for the delivery of the policy since they give individualized attention to each patient. This is evident as there are medical facilities from the national to community level. The caregivers have performed an important role in supporting the patients and with the necessary and sufficient leadership much could be obtained from them.

Recommendations

The Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act 0f 2009 provided an opportunity for the United States to overcome some of the problems facing the citizens. This act however was not conclusive since the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act 0f 2009 required re-evaluation to adequately meet the needs of the involved parties in the United States .The recommendations to this policy include;

  • The Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act 0f 2009 requires to re-evaluate the level of funding the government is to provide. This will help find a conclusive solution to the problem hence reduce the economic strain on the United States  economy  since the  cost of Medicare for a patient over the age  65 with the Alzheimer's disease is virtually three times that of a beneficiary devoid of the disease. The increased funds to the Alzheimer’s disease research  might be expensive in the short-run but in the long-run the united states economy will see less of the funds go to Alzheimer’s Medicare (OTA report, 1987).
  • The United States government should strictly analyze the production of any drug produced from the research findings .This is to ensure the drugs created do not undermine human rights and human dignity. The United States government should ensure all tests carried out do not result to complications in the human mind. The research should also include effects to third parties such as new born babies to parents treated of the drugs developed. This will ensure the new generation of people does not suffer the accumulated effects of the drugs causing more harm than good in the future. Politically such critical analysis of the problem will help create political mileage for the electorate since the legislators will have portrayed responsibility to the American society(World Health Organization, 2010)
  • The United States government organizations should educate the citizens on the findings from the research initiated by the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act 0f 2009.This will help boost the confidence of the American society. This will happen since the American society will have knowledge on how the funds resulting from the policy directives are being utilized (OTA report, 1987).
  • The Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act 0f 2009 should also include provisions for the creation of specialized institutions to provide specialized care to the Alzheimer’s patients. This will help improve the quality of services provided towards countering the disease in the United States.
  • The Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act 0f 2009 should also provide for public scrutiny of the effects of the resulting drugs for the disease as well as the components of the curative drugs. This will promote high levels of accountability by the government and drug producer companies. This will translate to improved welfare of the American population.

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