American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following statement today on 2018 omnibus spending bill that would fund the federal government through September:

“Good things come to those who wait, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been waiting a very long time for the sizable budget increase included in this legislation. 

The $3 billion recommended will be the most substantial federal support the NIH has received since the agency’s budget was doubled nearly two decades ago. This outstanding accomplishment deserves high praise and we commend the lawmakers whose bipartisanship made it possible.

If approved, we strongly encourage the NIH to invest more funding into heart and stroke research. Cardiovascular disease, the nation’s no. 1 and most costly killer, if left unchecked, will affect 45 percent of Americans by 2035. Research is our best hope to wipe out the burden cardiovascular disease will place on our nation’s health and economy in the coming years. 

Access to affordable health care is also critical in the fight against heart disease and stroke. Without health insurance, that care is out of reach for millions of Americans with cardiovascular disease and other pre-existing conditions. Consequently, we were disappointed to see that Congress did not include a proposal in the spending bill to stabilize the health insurance marketplace. This failure needs to be addressed promptly to protect patients and keep costs down.  

While we are extremely pleased that Congress has reached a consensus on NIH funding, we hope they can do the same when it comes to a stabilization bill. Americans can’t afford to wait any longer for the quality health care they deserve.

The association will take a more comprehensive look at how the omnibus bill affects Americans with heart disease and stroke as it makes its way through the legislative process.”