As emphasized by the Bipartisan Policy Center, health care expenditures are anticipated to reach 20% of US gross domestic product by 2020 and are a major threat to the sustainability of the health care system and to the economic productivity and stability of the country. Although death rates attributable to cardiovascular disease (CVD) have declined by almost one-third over the last 1½ decades, CVD remains the leading cause of death and the burden of CVD remains unacceptably high, especially considering the aging of the population.1 The economic effects of the burden of CVD are profound because managing CVD constitutes 16% of overall national health care expenditures.1 Given these sobering statistics, it is “mission critical” to examine how progress has been made in addressing CVD and to determine what steps need to be taken to further improve individual and societal cardiovascular health and economic well-being.
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