New Poll: Huge Majorities Want Medicare to Cover Cost of Alzheimer’s Drugs
Published May 23, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 23, 2023) — Nearly nine in ten voters favor (87% favor, 77% strongly favor) requiring Medicare to cover the cost of FDA-approved drugs that can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new poll conducted by Lake Research Partners and Public Opinion Strategies. Almost two-thirds of those polled (63%) are concerned that they, a friend, or family member could develop Alzheimer’s disease.
“Voters hold as a core value that Medicare beneficiaries should have access to FDA-approved medicines for Alzheimer’s, just as they do for other diseases,” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. “They do not understand why Medicare would restrict access to Alzheimer’s therapies when it covers every other FDA-approved drug for every other disease.”
“Alzheimer’s is personal for most Americans — more than half say they know someone who has had the disease, and they are deeply concerned about whether they’ll develop it,” said Neil Newhouse, partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. “As a result, Americans strongly support requiring Medicare to cover FDA-approved treatments for the disease.”
The poll was commissioned by the Alliance for Aging Research along with three Alzheimer’s patient advocacy groups: the LEAD Coalition, the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation, and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s.
In April 2022, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it would refuse to cover an entire class of FDA-approved therapies for early Alzheimer’s except for treatments provided through a very narrowly constructed clinical study. CMS’s requirements for such a study are so stringent that in the year since the decision, one has not even been proposed, much less launched.
“CMS’s decision effectively cut off access for the vast majority of beneficiaries living with early Alzheimer’s except those wealthy seniors who could choose to pay entirely out-of-pocket,” said Ian Kremer, executive director of the LEAD Coalition. “This new polling data shows that voters vehemently disagree with CMS’s policy — and want Congress and President Biden to ensure that all Medicare beneficiaries have access to FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drugs.”
The data show that most voters do not agree with CMS’s policy:
- 74% of voters strongly agree that Congress should step in and require Medicare to cover FDA-approved drugs and therapies that can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Eight in 10 agree overall.
- 63% of voters strongly agree that President Biden should step in and require Medicare to cover FDA-approved drugs and therapies that can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease; 74% agree overall.
- 84% of voters strongly agree that Medicare should provide all beneficiaries access to Alzheimer’s medications the same way that they provide access to FDA-approved medications for all other diseases.
- 80% of voters strongly agree that Medicare should be required to cover drugs that are FDA-approved.
Democrats, Republicans, and Independents strongly agree that Congress and President Biden should step in to change Medicare’s policy. (All toplines for race, gender, and political party are combined here.)
“A stunning four in ten voters say that a family member has had Alzheimer’s, and one-quarter say that they’ve cared for someone with the disease,” said George Vradenburg, chairman and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “That is more than the margin of victory in any swing state. As this new poll makes clear, voters are looking to lawmakers to ensure that everyone who can benefit from FDA-approved treatments for Alzheimer’s has access to them.”
“Lawmakers should heed the wishes of their constituents and require Medicare to make these groundbreaking therapies available to all its beneficiaries. Without them, hope is denied,” said John Dwyer, president of the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation.
“It’s completely inappropriate for CMS to insert itself between patients with early Alzheimer’s and their doctors, but that’s exactly what they are doing,” said Sue Peschin, president and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research. “The American people — across party lines and demographics — get it, and they want this to change.”
A PowerPoint presentation is available for download in addition to a recording of a press briefing.
For more information or to schedule an interview with a representative from any of the organizations named above, please contact IV Hendrix at [email protected] or (202) 980-4966 ext. 122.
About the Survey
Lake Research Partners and Public Opinion Strategies designed and administered a phone survey of likely 2024 voters that was conducted May 1-7, 2023, using professional telephone interviewers. A portion was also completed online, after part of the sample received a text to their cell phone with a link to complete the survey online. The survey reached a total of 1,275 likely 2024 voters nationwide which includes a base sample of 1,000 likely 2024 voters with oversamples of 100 Black voters, 100 Latinx voters, and 75 voters across Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. The oversamples were weighted down into the base sample to their proper proportions of the universe for a total sample size of 1,000. The margin of error is +/- 2.7%.
About the LEAD Coalition
Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease (LEAD Coalition) is a national coalition whose mission is to mobilize an engaged network of collaborating organizations to focus the nation’s attention on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and to accelerate transformational progress in:
- Care and support to enrich the quality of life of individuals with dementia and their caregivers;
- Detection and diagnosis; and
- Research leading to the prevention, effective treatment, and eventual cures.
The LEAD Coalition believes that the growing threat from dementia presents a moral imperative for urgent action. For more information, visit leadcoalition.org.
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is engaged in a relentless pursuit to end Alzheimer’s, the sixth leading killer in America. Our work centers on prevention, early detection and diagnosis, and access to treatments — all regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity. To achieve our mission, we give voice to patients and caregivers while partnering with government, scientists, the private sector, and allied organizations — the people who put the “Us” in UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. For more information, visit UsAgainstAlzheimers.org.
About the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation
The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP) is a patient-centric, non-profit organization dedicated to speeding the delivery of innovative therapies to those living with Alzheimer’s by reducing the time and cost of Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials, and by increasing diversity in clinical research. For more information, visit globalalzplatform.org.
About the Alliance for Aging Research
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging.. The Alliance believes advances in research help people live longer, happier, more productive lives and reduce healthcare costs over the long term. For more information, visit agingresearch.org.