With a new year, comes new opportunities to fight for heart and stroke patients in our nation's capital. Check out some of the issues we think we'll need your voice for in 2018.
Heart and Stroke Research Funding
Right now, one in three Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease. The affects this disease has on our loved ones is truly heart breaking. But unfortunately, it will only get worse. By 2035, an estimated 45% of Americans will have cardiovascular disease, which will cost the U.S. $1 trillion annually.
Our last true hope is heart and stroke research performed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). You're the Cure advocates have been successful in getting a $2 billion funding increase two years in a row and we are hopeful for a third boost this year, but we won't stop there. In 2018, we will continue to fight for more NIH medical research.
Increase Access to Stroke Telemedicine and Cardiac Rehabilitation
In 2017, we made amazing progress in increasing access to stroke telemedicine (via the FAST Act) and cardiac rehabilitation. The FAST Act has passed the Senate and is making progress in the House and we've added 93 cosponsors to our cardiac rehab bill. Getting these bills to the President's desk and allowing more Americans the ability to utilize these services is a top legislative priority for 2018.
Right now, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering rolling back certain healthy school meal requirements that would allow fewer whole grains, more sodium, and higher calorie flavored-milk. Advocates are urging the USDA to stop this from going forward and we will continue to advocate for healthy food in our children's schools.
In addition, Congress has started their process to reauthorize the farm bill. The farm bill is a multi-year piece of legislation that comprehensively addresses agriculture, food, nutrition, hunger, and public health policies, and will expire at the end of fiscal year 2018. The American Heart Association’s priorities for the farm bill are to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which offers food assistance to eligible low-income individuals and families (formerly known as food stamps), while also looking at ways to improve dietary quality, access, and health outcomes among our nation’s most vulnerable populations. Stay tuned for ways that you can add your voice this year and check our previous blog post about the farm bill.
Increase Access to Health Insurance
Throughout 2017, our guiding principles around any bill that dealt with health insurance was simple: Insurance needs to be affordable, accessible, and adequate for everyone. This hasn't change and in 2018 we will continue our work to preserve and expand access to care for heart and stroke patients.
We look forward to bringing you the latest on all these issues and making sure you are able to make your voice heard in Washington, D.C.!