WASHINGTON, D.C., October 17, 2019 — The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, announced Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) as the recipients of its 2019 National Public Service Awards, which honor federal officeholders for their commitment to policies that lead to longer, healthier lives. The awards were announced today at the American Heart Association’s “Hero’s Awards” ceremony on Capitol Hill, which kicked off the association’s biennial “You’re the Cure on the Hill” involving hundreds of volunteer advocates from across the country.
“Sen. Alexander and Rep. Scott are unwavering in their support for legislation that helps people prevent, detect and treat cardiovascular disease,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “Sen. Alexander and Rep. Scott are not only public health leaders in their own right, but they exemplify the commitment of countless other elected officials at all levels of government working tirelessly to improve people’s quality of life.”
As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Sen. Alexander has advanced the Every Student Succeeds Act, which included the largest federal commitment to physical education in history. Sen. Alexander also spearheaded the Lower Health Care Costs Act, which would, if enacted, protect patients from surprise medical bills, lower the cost of prescription drugs, strengthen public health programs and raise the minimum age of sale of tobacco products to 21.
As Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Rep. Scott has championed child health and wellbeing by strengthening and protecting school meal nutrition standards, protecting the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and advancing the Every Student Succeeds Act. He is a champion for underserved children who can benefit from healthy school lunches and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “SNAP.”
Also honored was Una Lee, Chief Counsel of the House Energy & Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee. Una has championed access to care priorities that include expanding access to cardiac rehabilitation services; strengthening the Affordable Care Act to reduce premiums and limit the sale of short-term, limited-duration plans; and repealing therapy caps.
The awards were announced on the morning of the American Heart Association’s “You’re the Cure on the Hill,” which brings 250 cardiovascular disease patients, survivors, caregivers, researchers and others from 48 states and the District of Columbia to Washington, D.C. to ask their elected representatives to “pave the path forward” for policies that lead to longer, healthier lives. In meetings today on Capitol Hill, the volunteers will urge their Members of Congress to
- Pass legislation to remove flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars and menthol cigarettes, from the market.
- Pass legislation to protect patients from financially crippling surprise medical bills.
- Continue our nation’s commitment to cures and support a $2.5 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2020.
“Our volunteer advocates have traveled from across the country to tell lawmakers about their personal experiences with cardiovascular disease and the importance of legislative proposals that reduce youth tobacco use, improve access to affordable health care and increase federal research funding,” Brown said. “We hope the passion our volunteers bring to Capitol Hill will compel action in support of public policies that lead to longer, healthier lives.”
The volunteers are being joined by Susan Lucci, the Emmy-award-winning actress, television host, New York Times bestselling author and entrepreneur best known for portraying Erica Kane on the ABC daytime drama All My Children from 1970 to 2011. In the fall of 2018, Lucci suddenly experienced chest discomfort caused by two blocked cardiac arteries. That night, she had an emergency procedure to place two arterial stents in her heart. She is now a National Ambassador for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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