House health reform cuts and flat NIH funding will hurt patients, says American Heart Association CEO

July 18, 2012 Categories: Advisories & Comments, Advocacy News
Washington, D.C.American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown made the following comments today on the House Appropriations Subcommittee’s Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) 2013 funding bill: 
 
“The House subcommittee’s legislation puts patient care and research on the chopping block with this latest round of budget cuts.  If approved, these cuts will deliver a destructive blow to prevention efforts, access to affordable health care, and investments in medical advances that provide hope for the millions struggling with cardiovascular diseases and stroke. 
 
Just about every HHS program that helps improve the heart health of Americans has either been eliminated or flat-lined.  Key among them is the National Institutes of Health.  Under this bill, NIH receives the same funding as last year, which is equal to a cut given inflation. This puts the NIH budget on weak footing as it faces a devastating cut in January under 2011’s Budget Control Act.  The legislation also abolishes the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and slashes funding for patient-centered outcomes research. This lack of federal support for research will jeopardize future discoveries, treatments and cures.  
 
If you have had a heart attack or a stroke, this legislation will mean the care you need will be less available and less affordable. Cutting the funding out from under the Affordable Care Act will adversely affect patients with pre-existing conditions, Medicare beneficiaries and the millions of Americans with cardiovascular diseases who are currently uninsured. Additionally, rescinding the funding for the Prevention Fund is shortsighted and economically foolish. This fund provides support for programs that can help Americans adopt healthy habits and will ultimately drive down our nation’s rising healthcare costs. 
 
The American Heart Association urges the House Appropriations Committee to seriously rethink this legislation. We must set aside repeated efforts to repeal or de-fund the Affordable Care Act, and make an investment in our nation’s future by funding research at robust levels. It’s the only way we can improve health, spur innovation and grow our economy.” 
  
###
Contact:  Retha Sherrod, (202) 785-7929;  retha.sherrod@heart.org