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 24, 2010

Statement from American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown

The U.S. House of Representatives took an historic and bold step forward to expand health care to millions of Americans to guarantee accessible, affordable, and high quality care. We all acknowledge that such a complex piece of legislation like the final health reform package isn’t perfect -- no package of similar magnitude has ever been perfect at the outset -- but this is the first step of a legacy building process that will transform American health care. This measure takes important steps forward by enacting needed insurance reforms, increasing affordability and reducing costs, emphasizing value over volume and placing a greater emphasis on prevention and wellness. For the American Heart Association (AHA), health care reform has always been about the needs of heart disease and stroke patients and we’re gratified that lawmakers didn’t lose sight of the concerns of those facing pre-existing medical conditions, lifetime and annual limits and other challenges with the health care system.

We now have health care reform that makes significant progress towards embracing the excellence of available health care in America while improving a health care delivery system that was untenable for too many Americans and unsustainable for all Americans.

We realize the current system cannot fully accommodate the current and growing burden of disease. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses are on the rise and will only worsen if attaining better health does not become a high priority. The AHA will continue to do its part and now with this legislation all Americans will have preventive benefits that help lower rates of obesity, hypertension, tobacco use and diabetes. First dollar coverage for evidence-based preventive services and appropriate treatments and medications that allow patients to lead productive lives after a heart attack or stroke will be key components in our efforts to reduce the burden of disease and extending prevention into communities, especially those of the underserved, will be invaluable.

This vote for health care reform represents a major milestone but not the end of the journey. We believe the work on health care reform is just beginning. The AHA remains committed to working with Congress, the Administration and our partners in the public and private sectors to further improve the health care system, to monitor and implement this legislation and to transform the current system into one that fulfills our American generational promise to make life better for future generations.

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