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, April 15, 2009

A Healthy Future may be in our Midst!

Greetings everyone. I wanted to share some good news this week.

Our ambitious proposal to provide funding for the prevention of heart disease and stroke has passed two committees of the legislature this week! Act for a Healthy Future is a bold proposal of the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society that will reduce incidence and mortality of Minnesota’s two leading causes of death: heart disease and cancer by investing in proven disease prevention, improving access to affordable health care, and reducing obesity and tobacco usage.

This legislation will increase the price of cigarettes by $1.00 per pack and increase the price of other tobacco products by a comparable amount. Tobacco-related illnesses kill 5,500 Minnesotans each year and cost the state an estimated $2.06 billion in health care expenditures annually.

The bill would fund the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Unit at Minnesota Department of Health, launch a new state Women’s Heart Health program, and create a permanent funding source for the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) which was funded for only two years to reduce obesity and tobacco use in Minnesota, among other important health goals.

Senate File 1990 (Sen. Scott Dibble) passed the Senate Health and Human Services Budget Division on April 14th and will now be sent to the Tax Committee. House File 2194 (Rep. Erin Murphy) was heard in the House Taxes committee and was held over for possible inclusion in the House omnibus tax bill (this is the process for all bills being seriously considered to be passed in the House). Both hearings went very well with the public health benefits to increasing the price of cigarettes as the dominant discussion.

To learn more about the bill, click here.

Thanks to all of you who have contacted legislators on this issue! Let me know if you have any questions.

Rachel Callanan
Senior Advocacy Director

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