Written by Pamela Dell
You’re the Cure Day on the Hill 2017 focused on “lifting the burden” of heart disease and stroke. As an ex-patient with the National Blood, Heart, and Lung Institute group within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), my priority will always focus on increased funding for heart and stroke research.
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Our Representatives support the NIH and the great work they are doing, however we know the investment in heart and stroke research is inadequate compared to the impact heart disease and stroke have on the US population. That is why we encouraged the Idaho delegation to push for more funding, specifically in this area. Despite their concern for the national debt, we conveyed that investment in research can help lower costs if we can reduce the burden heart disease and stroke care has on our communities across the country.
We spoke with Senators Crapo and Risch and Representative Simpson about telemedicine and expansion of access to cardiac rehabilitation through cosponsoring H.R. 1148/S. 431 and H.R. 1155/S.1361 respectively. I am hopeful that their increased awareness will lead them to support these issues. Idaho has many rural areas and remote areas need access to these healthcare services.
We also spoke against the American Health Care Act, and the changing Senate version, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, and attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. We know that this may be a much more personal matter, and that there are so many other issues wrapped up in the repeal and replace efforts, however the current version of these bills does not provide adequate care that is affordable and accessible. And as it stands, this legislation would reduce the number of Americans currently insured, and would diminish protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions coverage is of particular concern to me, as my heart has been broken since birth. I was lucky enough to participate in a clinical trial at NIH and received care that helped save my life. I am thankful to be able to participate in the AHA/ASA You’re the Cure on the Hill Day and participate in an event that allows me to make a difference for our nation’s heart and stroke health.