Washington, D.C., March 1, 2013 — American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following statement today on how the sequester cuts will endanger the nation’s heart health:

“The sequester cuts pose a serious threat to the extraordinary progress we have made in the fight against heart disease and stroke.  If they are allowed to remain in place, these devastating reductions will tie the hands of heart and stroke researchers to advance lifesaving treatments and cures. They will also slash support for prevention efforts that encourage healthy behaviors and ultimately drive down our nation’s rising healthcare costs.

Under the sequester, promising research funded by the National Institutes of Health will eventually be halted, and thousands of jobs will be lost from labs that can’t afford to pay researchers without federal support. For example, the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has identified nine critical priorities for stroke prevention, treatment and recovery research. But under the sequester cuts, scientists can only focus on one priority, further delaying progress in the prevention and treatment of the No. 4 cause of death in the United States.

Finally, these mandatory cuts will further reduce funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund.  As a result, communities will be denied much-needed funds to invest in cost-effective, evidence-based prevention initiatives that address public-health concerns such as childhood obesity, tobacco use, high blood pressure and cholesterol.

By 2030, more than 40 percent of Americans are projected to have some form of cardiovascular disease, annually costing this country $818 billion in direct healthcare costs and nearly $308 billion in indirect costs.  Clearly, the nation’s health cannot afford to bear the brunt of the sequester cuts.  We urge Congress to restore funding for the NIH and the Prevention and Public Health Fund so we can keep all Americans on the path to ideal heart health.”

As the effects of the sequester become apparent, we want to hear from you.  Are you feeling the impact of NIH funding cuts?  Share your story with us today!