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Statement by American Heart Association President Timothy Gardner, M.D. in Response to Health Proposals in President Obama's Budget

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by American Heart Association President Timothy Gardner, M.D. in response to health proposals in President Obama's budget:

We're encouraged that President Obama is committed to putting health care reform on the fast track. We don't have a moment to spare. With more than 10,000 Americans losing coverage each day, it's time to walk the talk and produce results that provide affordable care to all Americans. His plan sets us on a path to achieve that goal. We're also pleased that the health care cuts in the President's budget do not ration or reduce care for patients - but come from achieving greater efficiencies in the health care system. We embrace the President's eight health care principles which aim for affordable high quality care for all, including individuals with preexisting health conditions. The uninsured with cardiovascular disease experience higher mortality rates and far worse health outcomes than their insured counterparts.

However, healthcare reform will fall short if we fail to make robust investments in both research and prevention. We know that effective prevention strategies will help Americans adopt healthy behaviors and significantly reduce their risk for developing heart disease and stroke. The President has made his support for prevention and wellness a central focus of his health care principles. But we would also argue that support for biomedical research is critical to advancing scientific breakthroughs in cardiovascular disease. Today, only four percent of the NIH budget supports research on heart disease - the nation's No. 1 killer - and less than one percent of the budget is allocated for the No. 3 killer - stroke. We urge the President and Congress to address this funding inequity moving forward.

SOURCE American Heart Association
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