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Capps Hails House Passage of Legislation to Improve Women’s Heart Health

The bill would expand funding eligibility to all 50 states for the CDC's screening program

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, celebrated Thursday passage by the U.S. House of Representatives legislation she authored, the Heart disease Education, Research and Analysis, and Treatment (HEART) for Women Act (House Resolution 1032), which would improve access to cardiovascular screening programs for low-income and uninsured women and examine evaluating potential differences in the way new treatments for all diseases may affect men and women.

The legislation passed the House by a vote of 418-4.

The HEART for Women Act would expand eligibility for funding to all 50 states for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISEWOMAN screening program for low-income and uninsured women. The program currently is available in only 20 states.

In addition, it would monitor Food and Drug Administration compliance with requirements for reporting sex- and race-based data about new medicines and devices.

“Although cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, many women still lack access to information about their risks, screenings or tools for prevention,” Capps said. “The HEART for Women Act will improve access to preventive screenings for those who need it most and increase knowledge about how cardiovascular disease manifests itself differently in women vs. men, because too often failure to understand the differences can lead to a delay in spotting a problem.”

Cardiovascular disease claims the lives of 455,000 women each year. Even though more women than men die from heart disease each year, 43 percent of women are unaware that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, according to an American Heart Association survey. Also, 90 percent of primary care physicians are also unaware that heart disease kills more women than men each year.

The HEART for Women Act has been endorsed by a number of leading health and women’s organizations, including the American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, WomenHeart, the Society for Women’s Health Research and the Association of Black Cardiologists.

Expansion of the CDC’s WISEWOMAN screening program, the primary component of the HEART for Women Act, also was included in the original House-passed health-care reform legislation.

— Ashley Schapitl is the press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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