Federal Advocacy Successes Timeline

Updated:Feb 7,2014

The American Heart Association had a lead role in championing and/or developing these federal initiatives:

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the manufacturing, marketing and advertising of tobacco products. Candy-flavored cigarettes will be banned and new large warning labels will be mandated. Billboard advertising near schools are also banned, and there will be new restrictions on advertising in convenience stores and magazines with high youth readership. Tobacco companies will no longer be able to alter their products to make them more addictive or to make misleading health claims.

Preventative Benefits in Medicare Bill (2008)
American Heart Association successes included language to help identify and eliminate health disparities among minority and female Medicare beneficiaries. This legislation also included a number of provisions supported by the association that will improve Medicare’s coverage of preventative services, address health disparities among Medicare beneficiaries, and assure continued access to Medicare outpatient therapy services.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (2008)
Protects individuals from discrimination based on their genetic information by employers or healthcare providers.

Nutrition Provisions in Farm Bill (2008)

American Heart Association-supported programs include:
  • Commodity Quality Incentive Program: Provides a short-term subsidy for the production of trans fat-free oil seeds.
  • Federal Food Assistance Program: Makes historic investments in fighting hunger and inadequate nutrition.
  • Expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program: Strengthens the link between farms and schools and promotes the consumption of healthy fresh foods by our children.
  • Reauthorization of the nutrition monitoring program: Helps shape policies that lead to even better ways to address the relationship between agricultural policy and human health.
New Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at CDC (2005)
Elevated CDC’s Cardiovascular Branch to a Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention to focus and consolidate its efforts to improve the nation’s cardiovascular health.

Safe Routes to School (2005)
Provides funds to states to substantially improve the ability of primary and middle school students to walk and bicycle to school safely, increasing daily physical activity among children. States are scheduled to receive $612 million from 2005-09.

Cardiovascular Screening Added to Medicare (2003)
The Medicare Cholesterol Screening Coverage Act signed into law as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2003. Provides seniors with cholesterol and other cardiovascular screenings.

Community AED Act (2002)
Authorized the expenditure of funds to establish public access defibrillation programs. Communities receiving grants would purchase and place automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public places where cardiac arrests are likely to occur.

NIH Funding Doubled (2002)
In FY 2003, Congress completed its five year effort to double funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), increasing annual funding from $13.6 billion to over $27 billion.

Physical Education for Progress Act (2000)
The PEP program was created in 2001 as a competitive grant program to help local school districts upgrade physical education programs and equipment. In FY 2003, $60 million was appropriated to implement this program.

Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Registry Established (2000)
Secured funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to design and test prototypes to track and improve the delivery of care to patients with acute stroke in four sites across the country. In 2002, the registry was expanded to an additional four sites.

Rural Access to Emergency Devices Act (2000)
Authorized the expenditure of funds in rural areas to purchase lifesaving AEDs and train individuals in their use. In FY 2003, $12.5 million was appropriated to implement this program.

Cardiac Arrest Survival Act (2000)
Directed the federal government to issue guidelines for the placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in federal buildings and extended the "Good Samaritan" protections to those both using and purchasing AEDs.

Women's Cardiovascular Diseases Research and Prevention Act (1998)
As the result of AHA's work, legislation was signed into law to create a program to advance the fight against heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in women. Specifically, this law provided funding to expand heart and stroke research in women and create additional information and educational programs for women patients and healthcare providers on heart disease and stroke risk factors.

State Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program (1998)
With support from Congress, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created the State Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program to meet state needs to prevent and control heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. In FY 2003, $43.2 million was appropriated to implement this program.

FDA Jurisdiction Over Tobacco (1996)
Led the effort to urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to claim jurisdiction over tobacco products. FDA issued final regulations providing for jurisdiction over the advertising, promotion and manufacturing of tobacco products.

Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act (1994)
Amended the national school lunch program to require that schools serve meals that meet dietary guidelines for Americans, which included limits on total fat and saturated fats.

Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (1990)
Provided for comprehensive nutritional labeling of packaged food products and for the regulation of health claims.

Ban on Smoking on Airlines (1988)
Banned smoking on all commercial airliners.

Comprehensive Smokeless Tobacco Health Education Act (1986)
Required all smokeless tobacco packages and advertisements carry rotating warning labels.

Comprehensive Tobacco Prevention and Education Act (1984)
Required rotating warning labels on cigarette packages and advertisements including a label stating, Surgeon General's Warning: Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy.

Federal Cigarette Excise Tax Increased From 8 to 16 Cents Per Pack (1982)
It was the first increase in 31 years.

National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness Changes Its Name to the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (1968)

President Lyndon B. Johnson Designates February as “Heart Month” (1963)

National Heart Institute is Formed (1948)
Congress established the National Heart Institute in June 1948. It became the National Heart and Lung Institute in 1969 and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 1976. It is one of only 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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