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We won't stop fighting for heart and stroke research!

This has been a great year for You’re the Cure volunteers advocating for more heart and stroke research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). So far, we’ve sent 23,000 messages to Capitol Hill, over 380 advocates met with lawmakers during You’re the Cure on the Hill, and countless numbers of passionate volunteers shared their stories on social media.

What did all of this hard work accomplish? The budget process is still not over, but here's the latest:

 

  1. A proposed budget bill in the U.S. House increases NIH's funding by $1.1 billion.
  2. A proposed budget bill in the U.S. Senate increases NIH's funding by $2 billion.
  3. Finally, the U.S. House passed a separate bill, the 21st Century Cures Act, which would give the NIH an extra $8.75 billion over the next 5 years. The bill is now in the Senate for consideration.

The House and Senate still need to work out its budget differences and nothing is final until the President signs a bill. However, this is the closest we've been in years to increased heart and stroke funding, so will you pledge not to give up the fight?

In September, another group of You’re the Cure advocates will join 300 other organizations in Washington DC. Not only will they urge Congress to increase heart and stroke research funding, but they will be delivering the names of everyone who has pledged to keep fighting for the NIH. 

It’s crucial that your name be on that petition we deliver to Capitol Hill. We've made great strides in the fight for more heart and stroke research funding this year, but we cannot give up now.

Your message to Congress is simple: "I won't stop fighting for the NIH." Tell them today!

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An extra $8.75 billion for the NIH!

UPDATE: By a vote of 344-77, the House passed the 21st Century Cures Act with a strong NIH Innovation Fund! Thank you everyone for your support. We will be in touch soon about how you can help as the bill moves to the Senate!

Original article below:

Yes, that’s possible, but we need your help to make it a reality.

Right now, the U.S. House of Representatives is working on a bill called the 21st Century Cures Act. The bill seeks to advance the discovery and development of new medical treatments for patients, such as by providing a much needed boost of money for the National Institutes of Health through the creation of the "NIH Innovation Fund".  

Specifically, the Fund would allocate an additional $8.75 billion in mandatory money for new, innovative NIH research over a five year period or $1.75 billion a year.

The House is expected to debate and vote on this legislation this week and they need to hear from you.

Please ask your U.S. Representative to vote "Yes" on the 21st Century Cures Act and keep the NIH Innovation Fund strong!

Even though the bill gives the NIH this extra boost of funding, there is an effort right now to make this funding optional. If this effort succeeds, then the $8.75 billion that the NIH desperately needs would not be guaranteed. As you know, every dollar is crucial as we explore new ways to treat, prevent, and even cure heart disease and stroke. That is why your elected officials need to know how important this proposed NIH Innovation Fund is to the future health of all Americans and that it should not be optional.

Please email your legislator and ask them to support the 21st Century Cures Act and keep the funding for the NIH Innovation Fund mandatory.

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Let's Get FIT Kids Moving

Helping our children live active, healthy lifestyles is more important than ever. Since we first shared that the Fitness Integrated with Teaching (FIT) Kids Act had been re-introduced this Congress, thousands of you have urged your lawmakers to join as co-sponsors. Now we’re asking those of you who have yet to step up to take 60 seconds and ask your representatives to lead on this issue.  

Physical education programs have faced budget cut after budget cut. Less than four percent of elementary schools, less than eight percent of middle schools, and less than three percent of high schools are able to offer daily P.E. We can and we must do better, and the FIT Kids Act would go a long way toward closing this gap. It will strengthen grants to schools across the country that fund P.E. programs and require states that apply for these grants to adopt strong standards that are evidence-based. Please click here to tell your lawmakers why co-sponsoring FIT Kids is so important to you.

 

 

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Extra Innings! Are YOU Going to Step Up to the Plate?

If you thought the game was over, we’ve got news for you! We’re headed into extra innings, and we need ALL of our advocates to step up to the plate!

A few days ago, hundreds of You’re the Cure advocates from across the country flooded Capitol Hill urging their lawmakers to step up for heart health. We've made a huge impact this week, but we need to keep it up. Let your lawmakers know that if they step up for heart health then they have your support, and that we will hold them accountable if they don't. 

It’s not too late to take action to support healthy school meals and medical research funding. Tell your lawmakers to get off the bench and in the game. The health of their constituents depends on it.

Will you step up with me?

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It's More Important Than Ever

We recently learned that more students are taking part in the National School Breakfast and School Lunch programs than ever before (with more than 30 million of our kids getting school lunches alone). That’s why it’s never been more critical that we protect strong nutrition standards, and make sure we’re serving the healthiest foods possible to students who rely on school cafeterias for up to half of their daily caloric intake.

It’s also one more reason why we need you to step up and make sure those who oppose healthy school meals hear what we have to say. Tell your lawmaker that the stakes are too high to go back – we must protect strong school nutrition standards. With school cafeterias increasingly taking on a greater responsibility when it comes to nourishing students, we need standards in place that ensure the meals they serve include at least one serving of fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, and less salt.

Healthy meals help prevent childhood obesity, teach good eating habits that will last a lifetime, and boost academic performance.  Please let your representatives know why strong school nutrition standards mean so much to you. In less than a minute, you can make your voice heard and help give our kids the longer, healthier futures they deserve.

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Tell your lawmaker: Heart and stroke research is a priority!

Imagine if we didn’t know that smoking led to heart disease or stroke. Think about all of the lives lost if we didn’t have AEDs. How many stroke and heart disease survivors would we have if it weren’t for clot-busting drugs?  It’s hard not to take these and other medical milestones for granted. But if it weren't for our investment in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), these breakthroughs might not be here today.

Unfortunately, future discoveries will be in jeopardy if our lawmakers continue to inadequately fund medical research.  Will you contact your lawmaker today and urge them to make NIH heart and stroke research a national priority?

Right now, members of both the U.S. House and Senate are determining their priorities for upcoming appropriation bills. It's crucial that as many lawmakers as possible request a funding increase for the NIH if we hope to discover more lifesaving heart and stroke treatments.

Over the past 10 years, the NIH budget has not kept pace with medical research inflation, resulting in more than a 20% loss in purchasing power. Moreover, NIH continues to invest only 4% of its budget on heart research and a mere 1% on stroke research. This means promising discoveries to save even more lives will be left in the lab room and not in the hands of doctors.

Like me, I am sure you find this unacceptable. But this trend will only change if we stand up and urge our legislators to make NIH a national priority.

Medical breakthroughs do not happen overnight. Each step takes countless hours of research and manpower, trial and error, hope and frustration. But each step is an opportunity to bring a new chance at life to countless Americans across the country. It’s why the work NIH does is so vital, and it’s why the work we do to increase NIH’s funding is so critical. Our nation’s future health depends on it.

Join me and speak up today!

 

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Does it make sense to penalize those who need therapy most?

My answer to this question is a loud “NO!” and I bet yours is, too. But that is just what Medicare’s current limits on outpatient therapy do. Unfortunately, if Congress does not act by March 31st, stroke survivors and others on Medicare with the most serious and debilitating conditions will face a cap on their outpatient therapy. But our lawmakers can prevent this from happening.  

Right now there is a bill in Congress to end these caps once-and-for all.

Will you ask your member to co-sponsor this commonsense legislation today?

After surviving a stroke, the last thing anyone needs to worry about is running out of therapy sessions. Stroke is our nation’s No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability and dementia. Therapy services provide stroke survivors with the ability to regain vital skills like walking and talking, prevent falls, and live as independently as possible. Limiting access to such beneficial care does not make sense.

I know you believe our stroke survivors deserve better. Ask your legislator to end these harmful caps today!

 

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New Year, New Goals - We Can Help!

It’s that time of year when we all make resolutions to get healthy, eat better, and exercise more. Well if eating better is on your list we’re here to help. Last summer we introduced you to our “I love you salt, but you’re breaking my heart” campaign and invited you to the pledge to end your love affair with salt. Now’s your chance to re-up your commitment or take the pledge if you haven’t already.


With most Americans eating more than twice as much sodium as the American Heart Association recommends for ideal heart health, it’s time to take steps to reduce the excess sodium in your diet. Most people think it’s easy, just take the salt shaker off the table – right? Actually it’s all the hidden salt in packaged foods and restaurant menus that get us in trouble.


What can you do? Get the facts and join our community. Our site has helpful tips, recipes, and blog articles to start you on the road to cutting the excess sodium. Once you have the facts you can make more informed decisions and you can help by spreading the word and inviting friends and family to break the love affair with salt. So take the pledge now, what are you waiting for?

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This holiday season, helping hearts everywhere

As the end of the year approaches, we know you’ve got lots of giving to do. Finding the right gifts for friends and family is inevitably a big part of all our Decembers. When you make a year-end contribution to the American Heart Association, you’re helping us fight against the first and fourth largest killers in the country – heart disease and stroke – and giving a gift that will help us touch millions of lives in the process. As you know, life is why we do the work we do, and why we hope you’ll contribute today and help us achieve our ambitions goals heading into 2015 and beyond.

Your contribution will help drive world-class research; local, state, and national education campaigns; advocacy efforts like You’re the Cure to push for the policies that lead to better public health; and improved patient care for all, particularly among populations who are at higher risk of heart disease and stroke. You can also customize your donation to give what works best for you: either a one-time or monthly gift, which you can give in honor or memoriam of someone close to you who opened your eyes to the importance of heart health.

Helping the American Heart Association to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke, is no small task. That’s why we’re honored that you’d consider making a contribution and giving the gift of heart health to so many. And if you’re unable to donate now, please consider one of the many other ways you can give during this holiday season. Thank you.

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Get Covered, Stay Covered!

More than 10 million Americans gained affordable health insurance in 2014. Starting on November 15, individuals and their families can sign up or renew their coverage for 2015 using the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace offers quality health plans and financial assistance to help pay for the cost of your health insurance. If you are uninsured – or know someone who is -- or you need to renew your health insurance, here are some facts and resources to help you get started…

Reading up about health insurance can take a little time, but it will pay off — for your heart health and your wallet!

1)      Learn the facts -- The Marketplace is a new way for consumers to shop for and purchase health insurance that best meets their needs and budget. Having health insurance gives you peace of mind that you’ll be able to get the care you need if you get sick without having to worry about enormous medical bills.  You’ll be able to make side-by-side comparisons of the different health insurance plans before you enroll. And you can’t be turned down for coverage even if you have a pre-existing condition, such as heart disease and stroke. Visit our webpage to learn more.

2)      Find coverage you can afford -- Most Americans who gained coverage this year through the Marketplace are paying $100 or less for their plan each month. The majority of people signing up for coverage can get financial help. An individual making up to $47,000 or a family of four with income up to $95,000 a year could qualify for financial help. Use this calculator to see how much financial help you could receive in 2015. If you don’t get covered, you might have to pay a fine.

3)      Sign up – Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace starts November 15 and ends February 15, 2015. If you sign up for coverage by December 15, your coverage will begin January 1. You can visit the Marketplace online at www.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 . You can also get help signing up online, in-person, or over the phone. To find local help, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov.

Health insurance coverage is critical to our shared mission to fight heart disease and stroke.  Research has shown that people with insurance not only have greater access to primary care and preventative services, but they are more likely to take their medications properly to control risk factors, call 9-1-1 if they are experiencing heart attack or stroke symptoms, and generally have better health outcomes.  And, the more uninsured Americans who get covered, the more affordable premiums will be for all of us.  So, learn about the new coverage options today and help us get the word out to friends, family, and neighbors who need this information, too!

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