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!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Breaking News: Tobacco Tax Increase will generate $168 million

In these difficult economic times, policymakers are looking for ways to save money and generate revenue. The American Heart Association, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, has a bold proposal that will do both: Act for a Healthy Future!

Act for a Healthy Future (HF 2194/SF 1990) is a bold proposal of the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society that will raise the tobacco tax by $1.00 and reduce the incidence and mortality of Minnesota's two leading causes of death: heart disease and cancer.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in Minnesota. Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of heart disease-- and the most preventable! Minnesota spends more than $2 billion each year in health care expenditures directly caused by smoking. While a pack of cigarettes is priced at a little more than $4.00, each pack of cigarettes generates $8.85 in health care costs that YOU PAY!

Tell your legislator to Act for a Healthy Future!

Act for a Healthy Future would increase the tobacco tax by $1.00 per pack and provide needed funding for important disease prevention programs and health care access initiatives including:

-- Generate around $168 million dollars!
-- $64.5 million in revenue, and the largest dedication of funding, could be deposited in the Health Care Access Fund to restore MinnesotaCare eligibility to 28,000 parents that was eliminated in Governor Pawlenty's budget recommendations.
-- $23.5 Million for the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) would provide grants to local communities to implement strategies to reduce obesity and tobacco use.
-- $2 million for a Colon Cancer Screening Demonstration Project will provide colon cancer screenings to low-income uninsured Minnesotans and position Minnesota to receive possible 3 to 1 federal matching dollars.
-- $750,000 each year for the Women's Heart Health Program that would provide heart disease risk screenings for approximately 15,000 low-income uninsured women across the state. Providing screenings to this high-risk population could help reduce the $405 million in estimated health care costs if left untreated.
-- $250,000 to leverage $1.2 million in federal funding to implement the Minnesota Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Plan. Implementing the state plan will improve cardiovascular health and reduce the burden of heart disease and stroke, which amounts to $2.1 billion in hospital costs annually.

Learn more about Act for a Healthy Future!

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