House committee sustains heart disease, stroke research and prevention efforts, but leaves key programs on life support, says American Heart Association

July 19, 2017 Categories: Advocacy News

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 19, 2017 — The American Heart Association said today that the House FY 2018 funding bill for the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education went a long way to boost heart disease and stroke priorities, but still left some key programs underfunded.

Coming out on top were the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) efforts in heart disease and stroke prevention. The Association advocated strongly against the president’s recommendation to create a block grant for the chronic disease programs, which would have diluted the CDC’s focus and significantly reduced resources to fight chronic diseases. Fortunately, the committee rejected both the administration’s block grant proposal and its request to end the Million Hearts program. Instead, the committee gave $6 million more than FY17 funding levels to the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and dedicated $4 million to Million Hearts. In addition, the WISEWOMAN program received level funding.

“We commend the committee’s investment in the CDC because it will help ease the toll of chronic diseases, along with spending on related health care services. This funding supports the important work being done across the country to prevent cardiovascular disease – the no. 1 and most costly killer in the United States – and save lives,” said American Heart Association President John Warner, M.D.

The committee’s proposed funding level for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is also moving in the right direction, with a $1.1 billion increase for the NIH overall, $3.257 billion for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and $1.810 billion for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. "We are pleased the committee rejected the President’s $7 billion cut and instead gave another boost to the NIH's budget," said Warner. "We urge the House to once again work with the Senate to provide the full $2 billion increase that the Association requested. Funding for the NIH must continue to grow to advance lifesaving research, particularly into heart disease and stroke. Now, more than ever, it is critical that this research becomes a national priority because the burden of cardiovascular disease is growing faster than our ability to combat it."

Unfortunately, the bill also contains some negative components from a health perspective. Chiefly, the Association is disappointed that the CDC tobacco prevention and control program was cut by $50 million, and funding for the nutrition and physical activity program was reduced by $39 million. While we are pleased that the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grants were funded at $100 million above FY17, this is well below the $1.65 billion authorized amount and will limit schools’ ability to adequately fund their physical education activities, among other programs. “We will continue to call on Congress to make robust investments in the NIH, the CDC, and these other valuable programs. By fully funding research and prevention efforts now, we can help lift the burden of heart disease and stroke for decades to come,” said Warner.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the American Stroke Association

The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke — the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association officially launched in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit StrokeAssociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the Association's science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Abbey Dively: abbey.dively@heart.org, 202-785-7905

For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org