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American Heart Association Calls on Presidential Candidates to Adopt the Organization's New Principles on Healthcare Reform

Principles Focus on Meaningful, Affordable Healthcare for all Americans

OXFORD, Miss., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Heart Association today unveiled six principles on healthcare reform as the presidential candidates begin a series of debates, the first scheduled for Friday, Sept. 26, at the University of Mississippi. With a vision of a stronger healthcare system, the association's 2008 Statement of Principles on Health Care Reform outlines critical issues that must be addressed to ensure high-quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans.

"We are committed to approaching healthcare reform from the perspective of the patient," said Daniel W. Jones, M.D., Immediate Past-President of the American Heart Association and Vice Chancellor of the University of Mississippi. "The goal is to create a dialogue among our elected officials, particularly focusing on the needs of individuals who have or are at risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke."

The following principles are included in the association's statement:

-- All residents of the United States should have meaningful, affordable

healthcare coverage;

-- Preventive benefits should be an essential component of meaningful

healthcare coverage;

-- All residents of the United States should receive affordable,

high-quality healthcare;

-- Race, gender and geographic disparities in healthcare must be


-- Support of biomedical and health services research should be a national


-- The United States healthcare workforce should continue to grow and

diversify through a sustained and substantial national commitment to

medical education and clinical training.

The complete statement, to be published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association within the next week, will be shared with top business, government and health leaders convening for a special program on healthcare reform hosted by the American Heart Association and the University of Mississippi. The group will examine the nation's health care system during the program, "Reinventing Health Care," slated for 7 - 9 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Sept. 24 in Fulton Chapel at the University of Mississippi. A live webcast can be viewed at

"The association strongly believes that this discussion can provide a framework that will address the challenges facing those who don't have access to quality health care," said Jones, one of the panelists for the program.

Produced by Fred Friendly Seminars of Columbia University, the program will focus on health policy reform in relation to the 2008 presidential election campaign. The panelists were carefully selected to offer a wide range of viewpoints from different perspectives and industries. Besides Dr. Jones, confirmed participants include Bill Novelli, CEO of the American Association of Retired Persons; T.R. Reid, Washington Post journalist; David Walker, president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the former Comptroller General of the United States; Regina Herzlinger, Nancy R. McPherson professor of business administration, Harvard Business School; and Dave Ratner, small business owner; Michael Anaya, Sr., president and chairman of the National Forum for Latino Healthcare Executives (NFLHE) and CEO, Colorado Plains Medical Center; Regina Benjamin, MBA, MD, founder and CEO, Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic; Denise Rodgers, M.D., associate dean of Community Health, Professor of Family Medicine & Dentistry, New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Eduardo Sanchez, MD, VP and Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas; Gerald Shea, assistant to the President of External Affairs, AFL-CIO; Michael Tanner, senior fellow, Cato Institute; Reed Tuckson, EVP, Chief of Medical Affairs, UnitedHealth Group and moderator Arthur Miller, University Professor NYU School of Law.

An edited version will air on Louisiana Public Broadcasting and Mississippi Public Broadcasting at 9 p.m. CDT Thursday, Oct. 16, one day after the third presidential debate, which will focus on healthcare and other domestic issues. It will also air on other PBS stations across the country this fall.

Some 80 million Americans suffer from cardiovascular diseases, and lack of health insurance and quality of care pose tremendous problems for many of these people. To learn more about the American Heart Association's efforts to reform our nation's health care system, see our six principles of healthcare reform below and visit

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases claim nearly 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2006-07 the association invested more than $554 million in research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs to help all Americans live longer, healthier lives. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit

American Heart Association's 2008 Principles on Healthcare Reform

Fundamental Principles for Presidential Candidates and Elected Officials

1. All residents of the United States should have meaningful, affordable health care coverage.

Every individual should have affordable health care coverage that provides access to appropriate health care services and guarantees protection from extraordinary or catastrophic medical costs. Such coverage must guarantee equitable and sustained medical care for individuals with chronic disease.

2. Preventive benefits should be an essential component of meaningful health care coverage, and incentives should be built into the health care system to promote appropriate preventive health strategies.

All public and private sector health insurance benefits' packages should provide for the identification, monitoring and treatment of risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke in patients of all ages.

3. All residents of the United States should receive affordable, high quality health care.

Health care reform should promote improvements and the evaluation of the quality of care delivered, including adherence to clinical practice guidelines and education efforts to help consumers evaluate health care quality.

4. Race, gender and geographic disparities in health care must be eliminated.

Health care reform proposals should, at a minimum, encourage monitoring, reporting and evaluation of data regarding the consistency and equity of health care delivery. Standardized, evidence-based quality measures should be used for this purpose.

5. Support of biomedical and health services research should be a national priority, and inflation-adjusted funding for the National Institutes of Health must be maintained and expanded.

Health care reform initiatives should support increased investments in biomedical research to accelerate the identification of causes and the cures for disease, especially cardiovascular disease and stroke.

6. The United States' health care workforce should continue to grow and diversify through a sustained and substantial national commitment to medical education and clinical training.

Any health care reform proposal should provide sufficient public health funding, medical education funding and clinical training resources for programs that improve chronic disease management, care coordination and patient-centered care.

SOURCE American Heart Association
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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