Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opinion Roundup; Health Florida Is Ground Zero for Alzheimer's

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opinion Roundup; Health Florida Is Ground Zero for Alzheimer's

Article excerpt

This state should be leading in Alzheimer's research.

The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville is doing important research, for instance.

The proportion of Floridians afflicted with dementia is expected to grow by 50 percent in the next decade. The risk of dementia doubles every five years between the ages of 65 and 95.

This disease overwhelms caretakers and eventually forces patients into high-care nursing homes, using up their savings and pushing them onto Medicaid.

By 2025, Florida is expected to have more than 700,000 Alzheimer's patients. Each one has an average annual cost of $56,000, reports Florida TaxWatch.

"Florida has an impending Alzheimer's crisis, and it is sure to increase costs for families, payers and the state," TaxWatch concludes.

Alzheimer's is more costly than cancer or heart disease. There is no cure.

For instance, between 2000 and 2010, the proportion of deaths from heart disease decreased by 16 percent while Alzheimer's increased by 68 percent.

A new study reported in Neurology showed that the number of deaths attributed to Alzheimer's is six times greater than reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010.

That means Alzheimer's is far more deadly than previously thought, at No. 3 behind heart disease and cancer.

Yet Alzheimer's receives only a fraction of the research dollars that cancer receives. Florida's leaders should be pounding Washington for more funding.

Alzheimer's is a long, slow death that becomes traumatic for caregivers who themselves increase their risk of chronic disease and increased mortality.

The longer a dementia patient can stay at home, the less cost to family and the state. In return, caregivers need support, too.

Alzheimer's increases the cost of every form of health care, twice the cost for hospital care, three times for home health care and 10 times more for skilled nursing home services.

Florida has an impressive series of medical schools and health facilities. This state should be leading in research.

MANDATE IS NOT SO CHEAP

The individual mandate involved with the Affordable Care Act is essential to paying for the benefits such as no prohibitions for pre-existing conditions.

That mandate starts slowly, just $95 or 1 percent of adjusted gross income in the first year. But surprise, it can be much higher than that $95 figure.

Examples from The Wall Street Journal:

- $199 for a single person with $30,000 in adjusted gross income.

- $297 for a married couple with two dependent children and $50,000 in adjusted gross income.

- $1,297 for a married couple with two dependent children and $150,000 in adjusted gross income.

HEALTH CARE AND 401(K)

Health care is going to have to go the way of pensions. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.