Health Buzz: U.S. Heart Disease Costs Expected to Soar

Plus: Submit your health reform questions to AOL prior to a discussion at the White House.

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Report: Heart Disease Treatment Costs Will Triple by 2030

The cost of treating heart disease and stroke in the United States is expected to triple by 2030, jumping from $273 billion to $818 billion annually, according to a report published Monday by the American Heart Association. High blood pressure will be largely responsible for the rise, the authors predict. Today, roughly 17 percent of the nation's medical spending goes toward heart disease, which will likely eat up billions more in lost productivity—such as days missed from work and lost earnings due to premature death—over the next 20 years, the AHA predicts. The forecast can primarily be explained by an aging population: People over 65, a group that will grow rapidly over the next two decades, are those most likely to have cardiovascular disease. Costs could, however, be mitigated if effective prevention strategies are developed. "These estimates don't assume that we will continue to make new discoveries to reduce heart disease,"Paul Heidenreich, the report's lead author, told Bloomberg. "If our ability to prevent and treat heart disease stays where we are right now, costs will triple in 20 years just through demographic changes." Today, one in three Americans has some form of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure, or stroke. By 2030, that number will climb to 116 million Americans, the AHA reports.

Submit Questions to AOL Health Prior to Health Reform Discussion at White House

Have questions about health reform? Submit them now to U.S. News content provider AOL, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius may answer. This Thursday, two days after President Obama's State of the Union address, Sebelius will host a roundtable discussion on healthcare at the White House, and AOL will stream the conference live on and from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. EST. AOL Health Vice President Marjorie Martin will pose reader-submitted questions to Sebelius. Obama will likely tout health-care reform as one of his administration's major accomplishments during Tuesday's address. The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March, requires every American to have health insurance by 2014. Democrats back the law, arguing that it puts all Americans on equal footing when it comes to healthcare. But Republicans are angling to repeal it, saying the law is too costly and could eliminate jobs or force companies out of business.

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