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Healthcare Reform Tops Agenda for Hundreds of Heart Disease and Stroke Survivors on Capitol Hill

American Heart Association advocates call on Congress to pass meaningful health reform and increase funding for research and prevention

WASHINGTON, April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With millions of Americans struggling with the rising costs of health insurance and health care, heart and stroke survivors, youth advocates and researchers from across the country today urged Congress to make a commitment to pass meaningful health reform. They met with their representatives for the American Heart Association's (AHA) Congressional Lobby Day, You're the Cure on the Hill 2009, to build support for health reform and boost funding for research and prevention programs to fight cardiovascular diseases, the nation's No. 1 killer. AHA President Timothy Gardner, M.D., President-Elect Clyde Yancy, M.D., CEO Nancy Brown also met with House and Senate leadership.

"Heart disease and stroke survivors have a lot at stake in efforts to reform the health care system," said Timothy Gardner, M.D., President of the American Heart Association. "Patients with cardiovascular disease should not have to go without health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. Affordable coverage should be available to all Americans."

Fifteen percent of non-elderly adults with cardiovascular disease are uninsured and many with insurance struggle with the high costs of care. The uninsured with cardiovascular disease have a higher rate of death following a heart attack or stroke, compared to those with insurance.

Nearly 500 advocates called on their representatives to also increase funding for the National Institutes of Health and the CDC's Heart Disease. Specific asks included:

  • Pass meaningful health reform this year.
  • Appropriate $32.4 billion for the National Institutes of Health for fiscal year '10.
  • Appropriate $74 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program and $37 million for WISEWOMAN for fiscal year '10 so more states can implement these life-saving programs.

The association also recognized public officials and volunteers for their efforts in the fight against heart disease and stroke. This year's Congressional Public Service Award honorees include Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) for their leadership on healthcare reform, research and prevention funding and legislation to prohibit genetic discrimination. Congressional staffers Leticia Mederos, Legislative Director to Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and David Bowen, Staff Director for Health for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions received AHA's Congressional Staff Appreciation Awards for advancing key legislation supported by the association.

The following advocates were honored for their dedication and contributions to the association and its advocacy mission: Michelle Ballasiotes of Evans, GA (Youth Advocate of the Year); Frank Amend of Rocky Mount, NC (Survivor Advocate of the Year); Deborah Minor of Jackson, MS (Volunteer Advocate of the Year); and Alan Daugherty M.D. of Lexington, KY (Science Advocate of the Year).

For more information visit and The association's nationwide You're the Cure grassroots network consists of more than 170,000 volunteers dedicated to finding cures for heart disease and stroke.

SOURCE American Heart Association
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