American Heart Association staff and advocates are celebrating a year of historic policy successes that will help people live longer, healthier lives.
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The AHA Founders Affiliate, which includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, achieved the most policy win points of any other of the six AHA affiliates! Below is listing of the public health policy wins we are celebrating from this past year.
None of this would be possible without the dedication of volunteers like you! Thank you for all you do to raise your voice and advocate to help your family, friends and neighbors have the opportunity to live healthier lives!
- Medicaid Expansion – Maine became the first state to expand its Medicaid coverage through a ballot measure rather than through legislative/regulatory work. This will help ensure hardworking Mainers have the healthcare coverage they need!
- Tobacco 21 - Maine became the fourth state in the nation to pass a statewide bill raising the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products from 18 to 21.
- Tobacco 21 was passed at the state level this summer! Leading up to this state-wide win, there were also several localities that passed their own local Tobacco policies, including: Shrewsbury, Bedford, Harwich, Spencer, Springfield, Winthrop, East Longmeadow, Chicopee, Norton, Burlington, Conway, Lancaster
- $4 Million to expand the SNAP program and get healthy food on the tables of some of the state's most under-served communities.
- Medicaid Expansion re-authorization was extended from 2 years to 5 years. This win is impactful on two fronts. First, we know more NH residents will have access to affordable, quality healthcare. Second, it will allow the AHA to focus energies on other important public policy health wins, rather than having to defend attacks on re-authorization every two years.
- Tobacco 21 passed in Dover. This will protect more Dover youth from deadly tobacco products. We hope to see other localities pass this policy!
- Stroke registry appropriations will provide the resources needed to monitor stroke occurrence, treatment and outcomes so that we can continuously improve the stroke system of care in NJ.
- NJ became the third state in the country to pass a state-wide Tobacco 21 policy!
NEW YORK STATE
- Tobacco 21 continued to gain momentum in localities throughout New York. This year, volunteers led the way in passing local policies in Nassau County, Westchester County, Rockland County, Ulster County, Long Beach and Onondaga County. We hope to see this momentum roll up to the passage of a state-wide Tobacco 21 in Albany this year!
NEW YORK CITY
- Active transportation (walking/biking) is a way of life for many NYC residents. In fact the Hudson River Greenway is considered to be the most heavily used bikeway in the United States with some 7,000 users every day. While the West Side has access to this well maintained pathway, the residents of the East Side are not as fortunate. This year, the AHA successfully advocated for an additional $101 million dollars to close a gap from 125th to 135th St., which will make the East Side Greenway continuous into East Harlem, one of NYC's more vulnerable communities facing significant health challenges.
- Serving 1.1 million students in more than 1,800 schools, The NYC Department of Education (DOE) is the largest school district in the U.S. For several years, AHA staff and volunteers have been advocating to grow PE Works, a city program to hire and train certified PE teachers and to work with schools to create school-specific plans to ensure effective PE for all students in grades K-12. In the FY 2019 budget NYC is investing $39.8 million dollars in PE Works.
- The AHA's bill to prevent junk food marketing in schools passed after several years of hard work by AHA volunteers and staff. This bill ensures that food and beverage companies cannot market unhealthy foods to children in schools.
- RI also updated its regulations regarding healthy eating, physical activity and “screen time” for Early Childcare Centers. This new policy will help to ensure that children in daycare will have adequate opportunities to be physically active, screen time will be limited to evidence-based levels and the foods served by the centers will meet age appropriate nutritional guidelines.
- In Vermont, we were able to secure additional funding to support the state's tobacco control program. We successfully advocated for an additional $1M for the program, bringing the state's total to $4.6M.