Should Americans know if members of Congress have Alzheimer’s or other illnesses that greatly impair their ability to serve in office?
With recent revelations concerning a DC pharmacy that has quietly been hand-delivering medications to the Capitol for decades, concerns are mounting. And incidents involving House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and US Senator Dianne Feinstein have caused some to ask whether they should be stepping down in the near future.
Pelosi (D-CA) is 77, while Feinstein (D-CA) is 84.
The average age of a member of Congress is now the highest it has been in at least 70 years, with Democrats at 61.0 and Republicans 57.2 years old.
While that in itself is not a reason to call for change, comments by pharmacist Michael Kim, owner of congressional supplier Grubb’s Pharmacy, raise red flags.
Kim told Stat, an online medical publication that “At first it’s cool, and then you realize, I’m filling some drugs that are for some pretty serious health problems as well. And these are the people that are running the country. It makes you kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow, they’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.’”
When political analysts pressed Kim for more information about potential Alzheimer’s patients serving in the House and Senate, he instead backed down, seemingly under pressure.
Beyond politics, he may have been spooked by the (most likely incorrect) assertions of some that he was violating the federal law known as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which was passed in 1996.
While this issue transcends party lines and impacts both parties, Feinstein and Pelosi’s public bouts of confusion have caused a great deal of speculation inside Washington. The former’s recent inability to recall “the other house” on Capitol Hill and the latter’s repeated issues with confusion and slurred speech have generated headlines.
Below, here’s Pelosi struggling through a CNN interview: