Attention Presidential Candidates! Forget the Lipstick! Describe Your Plans to Fight Alzheimer's!!

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Frankly, I'm really getting tired of listening to the presidential campaign as the candidates get mired in trivial mudslinging (such as what was meant when Sen. Obama talked about "lipstick on a pig"). I believe there are important issues to be discussed - like each candidate's health care platform and what each plans to do about looming health care issues, such as Alzheimer's. However, by keeping the slime flying, the candidates can avoid talking about the issues.


    So why not just sit back and enjoy the "mud-wrestling"? Unfortunately, we don't have time to enjoy such trivial garbage when this country is facing not only a health care crisis with Alzheimer's, but also an economic crisis. Well, here are a few of the facts (taken from a 2006 sharepost that I wrote):

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    • An estimated 4.5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer's disease. That number is just slightly less than the total population of Ireland. The number of Americans with Alzheimer's has more than doubled since 1980 and will continue to grow. It is estimated that by 2050, more than 11 million people could be afflicted with this disease.
    • Alzheimer's disease costs American business $61 billion a year, according to a report commissioned by the Alzheimer's Association. Of that figure, $24.6 billion covers Alzheimer health care and $36.5 billion covers costs related to caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's, including lost productivity, absenteeism and worker replacement.
    • The average lifetime cost of care for an individual with Alzheimer's is $174,000. More than 7 out of 10 people with Alzheimer's disease live at home, where almost 75 percent of their care is provided by family and friends. The remainder is "paid" care costing an average of $19,000 per year. Families pay almost all of that out of pocket. The average cost for nursing home care is $42,000 per year but can exceed $70,000 per year in some areas of the country. These health care costs place a tremendous burden on the caregiving family's financial situation. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2005, Black households had the lowest median income ($30,858) while Asian households had the highest median income ($61,094). The median income for non-Hispanic white households was $50,784. Median income for Hispanic households was $35,967.

    So it's time for politicians to put down that clod of mud that they are aiming at their competitor. Americans deserve an honest discussion about what Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama plan to about this tsunami that is coming toward the United States. And yes, I also want to hear from Sen. Biden and Gov. Palin about the health care policies that the presidential candidates and the political parties are endorsing.


    Forget lipstick! Quit making advertisements with misstatements about the other person's record! Stop the scare tactics! Instead, give the American people an honest and thoughtful discussion of what you, the candidate have done previously in your political career about health care issues and what you will do if elected to fight Alzheimer's. We deserve to be able to make an informed choice when we go to the polls in November.


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    And while we're talking about issues (instead of personalities), I thought I'd provide links to several important sites:


    And finally (because I'm afraid the mudslinging and misleading statements are going to get much worse), I'd encourage you to sign up for e-mail updates from, which describes itself as "a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics." is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania. The APPC accepts NO funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. It is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation.

Published On: September 17, 2008