U.S. Representative Barbara Cubin continued her bipartisan work with Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) to address heart disease in women earlier this week by passing legislation through the House Energy and Commerce Committee to improve both awareness of the disease and treatment for women that are diagnosed.
"Representative Capps and I have worked for over two years to pass this vital legislation, which will go a long way in fighting a disease that is the leading cause of death in Wyoming," said Cubin, a heart attack survivor herself. "While often thought of as a man's disease, heart disease is also the number one killer of women in our country. Correcting this faulty perception among both women and medical providers, as the HEART for Women Act seeks to do, could save women's lives."
Rep. Cubin first joined Rep. Capps introducing the Heart Disease Education, Research and Analysis, and Treatment (HEART) for Women Act in 2006, and then again in 2007. The bill approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, H.R. 1014, had the support of 236 Republican and Democrat cosponsors. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). These measures authorize grants to educate doctors about the unique aspects of preventing, diagnosing and treating women with heart disease. They also requires that health information already being reported to the Food and Drug Administration be stratified by sex, race and ethnicity. This data will help researchers and clinicians identify differences between men and women and develop best treatment practices for both sexes.
"Heart disease and stroke continues to take a devastating toll on the lives of our mothers and daughters, and it's costing our nation millions of dollars in heath care expenses," said Timothy J. Gardner, M.D., American Heart Association President. "Wednesday's House action is a move in the right direction towards improving cardiovascular disease treatment and prevention in women. We urge the full House to pass the HEART for Women Act in this congressional session."
The HEART for Women Act also expands a current program run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called WISEWOMAN. The program is a state-federal partnership that provides free cardiovascular disease screenings to low-income women. Twenty states currently benefit from the WISEWOMAN program, though Wyoming is not currently one of them.
"The State of Wyoming is already partnering successfully with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on other disease prevention initiatives," said Cubin. "The WISEWOMAN expansion in this legislation will give our State the opportunity to compete for the program's funding. WISEWOMEN would give women in Wyoming the number one tool in fighting any disease -- early detection."
H.R. 1014 was approved unanimously by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It currently awaits consideration on the floor of the full House of Representatives.