Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Toward a Healthy Future: A Proposal to Take On Cancer and Heart Disease

Health consumers groups’ plan aims to save lives and health care costs through screening, access to care and investment in upstream prevention.

ST. PAUL, MINN – March 26, 2009 – Representative Erin Murphy today introduced the Act for a Healthy Future, a bold and budget friendly chronic disease prevention plan from the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association, to take on Minnesota’s leading killers from lung and colon cancer to heart disease and stroke.

The plan proposes a $1 increase in the state’s tobacco tax and investment in a evidence-based cancer and heart disease prevention approaches while preserving health care eligibility for thousands of Minnesotans. The Act for a Healthy Future plan would raise an estimated $90-120 million per year and will:

· Empower almost 20,000 smokers to quit and prevent 44,000 kids from ever starting.· Save more than 19,000 Minnesotans from dying premature tobacco related deaths.
· Save an estimated $960 million in long-term health care costs to treat tobacco related disease.
· Provide preventative colorectal cancer screening for over 1000 Minnesotans without adequate insurance.
· Enact the Women’s Heart Health Promotion Act to screen 15,000 uninsured women for their risk of heart disease.
· Invest $250,000 in implementing Minnesota’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention plan and leverage $1.2 million in federal funds.
· Invest $24 million annually to the Statewide Health Improvement Program. Created last year as part of health care reform, SHIP will implement local evidence-based strategies for reducing obesity and tobacco use.
· Contribute at least $65 million annually to the State’s Health Care Access Fund to preserve health insurance coverage for 28,000 premium paying Minnesotans.

According to Rachel Callanan, Senior Advocacy Director for the American Heart Association, “Rep. Murphy’s bill will save lives and health care costs for Minnesotans. Act for a Healthy Future confronts our State’s two leading causes of death by addressing the need for affordable treatment, early detection and by addressing behaviors that can lead to chronic disease.”

David Arons, Director of Government Relations for the American Cancer Society, explains that meaningful health care insurance and coverage is a critical component of the plan: “Without adequate coverage people don’t have access to critical, potentially life-saving, screenings that can prevent these diseases and avoid the notably higher costs of treating them.”

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