Congress Maintains CDC's National Asthma Control Program

President's Budget Request Had Proposed its Consolidation and Cuts

(December 16, 2011)

The American Lung Association in New York today applauded the efforts of lawmakers in both the House and Senate for their strong support of the National Asthma Control Program (NACP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At a time when national asthma rates continue to rise, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle recognized the importance of this essential program and, despite the difficult budget outlook, fought for its funding and survival.

"Here in New York State, the Department of Health estimates that 1.5 million people and 428,000 children suffer from asthma," said Irwin Berlin MD, board chair of the American Lung Association in New York. "We want to especially recognize the efforts of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Nita Lowey who understood the importance of continuing this program and advocated strongly to maintain it its funding and its position as a stand-alone program." Here in New York, asthma emergency department visit rates are higher across all age groups than the rest of the nation. The National Asthma Control Program, together with the asthma control program at the New York State Department of Health, is vital to our continued efforts to help people better manage their asthma and reduce emergency department visits and hospitalizations resulting from the disease."

The American Lung Association led nationwide efforts to mobilize grassroots support to save the program, urging champions in Congress to reject the proposals to combine the NACP with the Healthy Homes/Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and cut their combined budget by more than 50 percent. As a result of the efforts of asthma patients, caregivers and other members of the community across New York who contacted our members of Congress, the NACP will remain a stand-alone program at CDC with only somewhat diminished resources to continue its work to reduce the burden caused by asthma in the United States.

Prior to the creation of the NACP by Congress in 1999, there was no national strategy to combat asthma. As a result of the program and the initiatives it funds in 36 states, mortality and hospitalizations due to asthma have decreased even though asthma prevalence has risen since 1999.

The American Lung Association is committed to continuing our fight for the National Asthma Control Program and the National Center for Environmental Health at CDC. Maintaining and growing this vital public health program is critical to almost 25 million Americans who have asthma and their families.