Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia in those over age 65. The disorder affects the brain’s functioning, and results in cognitive and behavioral symptoms ranging from disorientation, memory loss and confusion to loss of social skills, depression and anxiety.
Many wonder how the recent healthcare reform act brought forth by President Obama and his administration will affect individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease and those who care for them. Obama’s Affordable Care Act was passed in late 2010, and carried many provisions that address the healthcare of seniors. Many are pleased with the direction this legislation took but there are some who have questions about the health and well-being of seniors under the bill.
One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act is a prescription drug rebate offered to seniors through Medicare. Individuals whose prescription drugs are covered by Medicare suffer from a loss of coverage at a certain dollar amount, leaving many having to pay for expensive Alzheimer’s Disease treatment medications out-of-pocket. This loss of health insurance coverage is dubbed, ‘the donut hole.’ Obamacare is aiming to close up this donut hole, and has sent over four million drug rebate checks out to senior citizens to date. Next year he promises to enforce a 50% discount on prescription drugs for Medicare recipients.
In early 2011, Obama signed into effect the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). Under this law, $50 million will be poured into Alzheimer’s research. By 2013 an extra $80 million will be devoted to research to find a cure, with the ultimate aim being to find a cure by the year 2025. NAPA also promises to increase assistance to provide for better care for Alzheimer’s sufferers and support for their caregivers. Though it is a step in a positive direction, critics of the plan say that it is not detailed enough and fails to hold those in power accountable to make sure goals get met.
Many oppose one particular aspect of Obama’s Affordable Care Act.The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is a panel of experts created under Obamacare. This panel would have control over Medicare spending and would have the ability to cut payments to patients in order to save money. IPAB is definitely a worrisome aspect of Obama’s healthcare reform, especially for those seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease. The good news is, IPAB is in the process of possibly being repealedin the House of Representatives and will soon reach the Senate for decision-making there.
[box]On the whole, Obamacare has brought about several positive developments for Alzheimer’s Disease patients. Some aspects of Medicare legislation are cause for concern, but hopefully those in power will repeal IPAB and come up with a better solution to care for our seniors.[/box]