As 2017 comes to a close, we wanted to give you an update on some of our major federal heart and stroke issues.
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Heart and Stroke Research Funding
All year, You’re the Cure advocates, like you, have raised their voices about the importance of increasing funding for heart disease and stroke research and prevention… and Congress continues to hear our message loud and clear.
A bill in the U.S. House of Representatives contains a $1.1 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, and a U.S. Senate bill did even better--it contains a third consecutive yearly $2 billion increase for NIH. Also, the House bill contains a $6 million increase—a much needed boost—for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s heart disease and stroke prevention. Right now, both chambers are working out the differences between these two bills. We are hopeful that both NIH and CDC heart disease and stroke prevention will ultimately receive funding increases this again year, but that will only happen if you contact your members of Congress today. Will you ask them to make NIH and CDC heart disease and stroke prevention funding a top priority?
Access to Affordable Health Insurance
Thanks to You’re the Cure advocates, we have successfully defeated every attempt to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a move that would have put affordable, accessible, and adequate health insurance out of reach for many American families, including those with CVD. This is a hard fought and substantial accomplishment. Despite continued challenges, we continue to push Congress to pass legislation that would stabilize the health care marketplaces. There is still much to be done so stay tuned for how you can help out.
Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act
The amount of progress we’ve made together to gain support for the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act is remarkable. Since the law was re-introduced, thanks to YTC advocates, it has passed the Senate and garnered 177 House cosponsors. Even more remarkable, these cosponsors are almost an even split of Republican and Democrats… a truly bipartisan bill!
In the new year, we are hoping the House and Senate will work together to include the FAST Act in upcoming legislation…and you can still help out. Will you ask your House member to cosponsor the FAST Act today?
Increasing Access to Cardiac Rehabilitation
Whether it was You’re the Cure on the Hill, a smaller Hill Day in the fall, or countless YTC advocates contacting their lawmakers about the importance of increasing access to cardiac rehabilitation services, we've made a lot of progress on this issue. Because of passionate advocates, a bill that would increase access to those services has garnered 73 House and 18 Senate cosponsors in just a short time. As we enter the New Year, we will want to continue this momentum and convince even more Representatives and Senators to support this important piece of legislation. Contact Congress today to help us get more support for this bill!
Healthy School Meals
Over the past few years, we have made amazing progress making school meals healthier. As you recall, our current healthy school lunch law thrives. In fact, more than 99% of participating schools have been serving healthier foods. But despite years of successful implementation, in November the USDA re-opened the school foods nutrition standards. USDA plans to discard some of the current science-based nutrition standards and allow schools to serve meals with more sodium, fewer whole grains, and flavored milk with higher calories.
In 2018, the government needs to focus on healthy eating as a new year’s resolution. In January, we’ll be asking you to take action and contact USDA in support of keeping the current standards. Stay tuned.