Help Needed to Save Asthma Funding

(February 23, 2012)

25 million Americans, including 7 million children, who suffer with asthma will be put at risk if the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Asthma Control Program is eliminated, as proposed by President Obama and the CDC. Despite a clear message from Congress to preserve the program, the President’s Budget intends to reduce the number of states funded by the National Asthma Control Program from 36 to 15—which will drastically affect these life-saving programs.

Since its inception the National Asthma Control Program (NACP) has worked hard to create an integrated and coordinated public health response to asthma control. Their critical efforts have put tracking systems in place that allow officials to track and better understand asthma trends. This allows decision-makers to focus resources on strategies that work and populations that are most in need. As a result, there is increased awareness and management of asthma in schools across the country, which is critical to keeping children healthy, in school and ready to learn.

Tracking asthma trends, made possible by the NACP, reveal both progress and challenges. Even though the number of people with asthma has risen, mortality and hospitalizations have gone down. Lower mortality and hospitalization likely indicates that disease management has improved, but the rise in total asthmatics means more people than ever will need assistance in understanding and controlling their disease.

Any attempt to eliminate the NACP would significantly set back the 13 years of progress made in managing this disease. The consequences would substantially reduce a state’s capacity to implement a proven public health response to this disease as well as dramatically reduce surveillance measures that track progress in reducing asthma attacks. It means that lives will be lost and more healthcare dollars will be spent treating people with asthma.

You can help save asthma funding

Be the voice for the 25 million Americans who suffer with asthma!  Call your three Members of Congress and urge them to save the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Asthma Control Program. We encourage you to reach out to your friends and family – particularly if they or someone they love has asthma - and ask them to join us in the effort to save this lifesaving program. Instructions and talking points to help you with your call are available at www.lung.org/nacp. For more information, please contact advocacy@lung.org.