How to Improve Heart Health and Lower Prescription Drug Costs
Welcome to American Heart Month! I’m Priya Helweg, the Deputy Regional Director for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and 272 Federally Recognized Tribes at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, particularly among African Americans. In fact, African Americans are 30% more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic whites. The good news is that by understanding the risks and taking proactive steps, we can prevent and overcome these diseases.
Take Control of Your Heart Health
There are various ways we can improve our heart health and protect ourselves from heart disease. Being physically active, adopting a healthy diet, refraining from smoking, and finding healthy ways to manage stress all contribute to a healthier heart. Personally, I enjoy hiking in the mountains and taking my dogs for walks around Green Lake in Seattle. Find what activities bring you joy and incorporate them into your routine!
Lowering Prescription Drug Costs
As the deputy regional director for HHS, I understand the importance of affordable medication in maintaining heart health. Prescription drugs can be costly, especially for patients with cardiovascular disease who may also have other chronic conditions like diabetes. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that medication remains accessible to all.
Under the newly enacted Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare can now negotiate fair prices for certain prescription drugs. This is a significant development, as it enables the program to secure lower costs for millions of beneficiaries. In fact, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has selected the first 10 high-cost medicines for negotiation, including five that specifically treat cardiovascular disease or prevent complications impacting the heart. For example, Xarelto and Eliquis are two commonly prescribed drugs that prevent blood clots which can lead to heart attacks or strokes. More than 7,000 Alaska residents with Medicare rely on these medications.
Don’t wait for the results of drug price negotiations to see lower costs. You can experience relief right now by taking advantage of additional benefits provided by the law. Medicare Part D beneficiaries, for instance, can benefit from a policy that caps out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. To learn more about these new benefits and how they can reduce your prescription drug expenses, visit lowerdrugcosts.gov.
Incorporating healthy habits into our lives and making medication more affordable are essential steps towards a healthier heart. This American Heart Month, take that extra step towards improving your heart health. Find time for a hike, spend quality time with your furry friends, and prioritize a balanced diet. And for those who rely on medication, discover how the Inflation Reduction Act can make prescription drugs more accessible and cost-effective.
Priya Helweg is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Regional Director for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and 272 Federally Recognized Tribes.
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