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American Heart Association Urges Congress to Accelerate Efforts to Enact Comprehensive Health Care Reform
Date:3/16/2009

And Increase Research Funding to Prevent Setbacks in the Fight Against Heart Disease and Stroke

WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With thousands of Americans losing health coverage each day, the American Heart Association warns lawmakers that recent progress in reducing the prevalence of heart disease and stroke could be erased without comprehensive healthcare reform this year.

During a media briefing in Washington, American Heart Association leadership outlined the Association's main objectives for health reform legislation, which include effective prevention strategies, adequate and affordable coverage, and delivery system reforms that promote high quality and cost-effective cardiovascular care.

"We have a responsibility to urge lawmakers about the issues that concern our patients, particularly as they confront their health care challenges in this tough economic climate," said Timothy Gardner, American Heart Association President. "Time is not on our side."

As the baby boomers age, heart disease is projected to increase by 16% each decade and deaths from stroke are projected to increase nearly 100% between 2000 and 2032. Cardiovascular disease is projected to cost $475 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity in 2009, making it the most costly disease.

Research is another important way the association intends to address the cardiovascular crisis that lays ahead. In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invested a mere 4% of its budget on heart research and less than 1% on stroke. These disproportionately low levels of funding for the No. 1 and No. 3 causes of death will severely limit efforts to find new ways to prevent cardiovascular disease and reduce death and disability among heart disease and stroke victims, according to the Association. "The identification of a person's genetic susceptibility to heart disease and stroke and tec
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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