FILE - In this May 19, 2015, file photo, a doctor points to PET scan results that are part of a study on Alzheimer's disease at a hospital in Washington. Scientists know that long before the memory problems of Alzheimer's become obvious, people experience more subtle changes in their thinking and judgment. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

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Last year, I began having trouble with daily tasks and found myself forgetting much more than I should at my age. I had to set the GPS to get home from work because I couldn’t remember the route and once got lost during a walk in my neighborhood. Things were starting to slip for me and honestly, I was getting scared. I learned that I’m now living with a mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer’s Disease.

With support from the Alzheimer’s Association, I am learning how to cope with my cognitive decline. But now, after decades of research, there is finally a treatment to actually slow the progression of my disease, rather than just treat its symptoms. For people like me, it gives us the gift of time to be present with our family and friends and embark on new adventures. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), however, has severely restricted access to this treatment. Such restrictions are unprecedented and only apply to FDA-approved treatments for Alzheimer’s. This is deeply unfair and must change.

Thankfully, Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Jared Golden agree. She is leading a letter in support of equitable access to Alzheimer’s treatments, and he has signed onto a similar effort in the House. I am grateful for their support and urge CMS to ensure that I and others living with early Alzheimer’s, no matter where we live or what resources we have, can decide with our doctors whether this treatment is right for us.

Chris Kast