American Lung Association Commends Senate Appropriations Committee for Protecting CDC’s National Asthma Control Program

American Lung Association again leads effort to defend vital prevention and education program

Washington, D.C. (June 14, 2012)

The American Lung Association is elated by the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations’ recognition of the vital role the National Asthma Control Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plays in the lives of Americans living with asthma. Earlier today, the Senate Appropriations Committee again voted to keep the National Asthma Control Program as a stand-alone program and maintained its funding level of $25.3 million for fiscal year 2013.

The American Lung Association led a coalition of health partners who strongly opposed the Obama Administration’s proposal to eliminate the program. In February, a joint letter was sent to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging them to support and protect this program.

“Asthma is a significant public health problem in the U.S., and the American Lung Association applauds the Senate Appropriations Committee for its leadership in protecting the CDC’s National Asthma Control Program,” said Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Funding this program will ensure states and communities have resources to address this disease in an effective and coordinated approach.”

The American Lung Association thanks Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Vice Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL). The Lung Association also recognizes the tireless leadership of Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in championing this program through the Senate’s appropriations process.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies is expected to consider funding for the CDC’s National Asthma Control Program on June 20. The American Lung Association asks the House Subcommittee to support the National Asthma Control Program as a separate, stand-alone program and to fund it at $25.3 million again in FY13.

Since its inception in 1999, the CDC’s National Asthma Control Program has ensured a coordinated public health response that focuses on people at greatest risk from this disease. Since 1999, mortality and hospitalizations due to asthma have decreased even though asthma prevalence has risen, which likely indicates a better level of disease management. Unfortunately, it also means more people than ever will need assistance in understanding and controlling their disease.

“As asthma rates continue to rise, this vital program is more important than ever to keep our children safe and help people better understand and manage their disease,” said Connor.

Asthma affects more than 25 million adults, including 7 million children across the country. It is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15 and is a leading cause of school absences from chronic disease – accounting for more than 10.5 million lost school days in 2008. Asthma costs our healthcare system more than $50.1 billion annually and indirect costs from lost productivity add another $5.9 billion, for a total of $56 billion dollars annually. Asthma claims the lives of almost 3,500 Americans each year, or approximately nine people per day.

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About the American Lung Association: Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.