Guest Blogger: Don Weisman, Government Relations Director
Thank you to Gov. Abercrombie for signing HB430 into law. The law will eliminate a cap on charitable deductions that was passed in 2011 to help the state combat the economic downturn. Unfortunately, the cap, while creating additional tax revenue for the state, resulted in far greater losses to the state's charities which carry much of the work load on addressing social burdens for the state. For organizations like the AHA that rely solely on fundraising through charitable contributions the loss of that revenue stream could have dire consequences towards achieving our goals.
Between 2000 and 2010 the AHA worked diligently toward reaching its 10-year goal of reducing heart disease and stroke deaths by 25 percent. It surpassed that goal prior to 2009, reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases by over 30 percent.
Bolstered by prior success, in 2010 the AHA announced a new 2020 goal of reducing cardiovascular-related deaths by an additional 20 percent, and for the first time it defined cardiovascular health, based on seven health factors, and announced an additional goal to improve cardiovascular health by 20 percent. Also, for the first time it defined cardiovascular health, based on seven health factors, and announced a goal to improve cardiovascular health by 20 percent.
The costs related to treating cardiovascular-related diseases is staggering. To help Hawaii estimate the financial impact of cardiovascular diseases among its Medicaid beneficiaries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and RTI International developed the Chronic Disease Cost Calculator, which was used to estimate Hawaii's cardiovascular-related Medicaid costs below:
Congestive Heart Failure
In 2005, the amount in hospital charges due to CVD in Hawaii totaled over $604 million. These charges do not reflect the total monetary impact of CVD. They only include charges that were incurred in a hospital setting and do not account for rehabilitation costs or work productivity loss.
Clearly, the AHA's work to reduce those diseases and their costs to the state is invaluable and could not be accomplished as efficiently through state government. The AHA's work is achieved largely through the work of thousands of volunteers who donate their time and expertise. Encouraging support of their efforts through the allowance of tax deductions for charitable contributions is both socially responsible and economically sensible for state leaders. Thankfully, both state legislators and Governor Abercrombie recognized that and worked together to pass this important legislation which will allow you, our valued donors to support the AHA to the full extent that your budget will allow.