The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is pleased to announce that the Elijah E. Cummings Family Asthma Act (H.R. 5749) was reintroduced into the U.S. House of Representatives. The goal of the bill is to expand federal, state, and local efforts to improve care for people with asthma.
The Family Asthma Act was first introduced to Congress in 2019. It is named in honor of the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a long-time supporter of the asthma community.
If passed, the bill would allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Asthma Control Program (NACP) to serve all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
The bill directs the CDC to work with state and local health departments to give out information and teach the public about asthma. It would also require states to make plans to address asthma, especially for communities bearing the highest burden of asthma.
By working with state health departments on community-based care since 1999, the NACP has helped reduce the number of asthma-related:
- Hospital stays
- Emergency department visits
- Missed school and workdays
- Other limits on activity
The NACP also works with several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including AAFA, to improve asthma care and control. Read more about AAFA’s Community Health Interventions to Advance Self-Management of Asthma (CHI-ASMA) Project.
But the NACP only has enough funding to work with 25 states, territories, and communities. This bill could fix that. It would set aside $70 million to allow the NACP to reach all U.S. states and territories.
H.R. 5749 aims to address the disproportionate burden of asthma on Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous Americans. The bill acknowledges the high rates of asthma and asthma-related deaths among Black Americans. And it proposes to expand efforts to improve care for people with asthma.
Rep. Cummings was a member of the House Asthma and Allergy Caucus and a lifelong civil rights advocate. He was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He devoted his life to improving the lives of his neighbors. He also worked to address the high rates of asthma in his home district.
According to the AAFA's 2023 Asthma Capitals™ report, Baltimore is the twelfth most challenging city to live in with asthma. It is also the city with the third-highest number of asthma-related deaths. Most of the people who live in Baltimore are Black.1
As found in AAFA’s 2020 Asthma Disparities in America report, Black Americans are at higher risk from asthma than white Americans. Black Americans are:
- One and a half times more likely to have asthma
- Three times more likely to die from asthma
- Five times more likely to visit an emergency room due to asthma
Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), David Valadao (R-CA), Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) reintroduced the bill. AAFA is proud to support this bill in Rep. Cummings’ honor and to continue his great work promoting health equity and improved health outcomes for children and adults with asthma.
Help us work to expand this critical program by taking action now! If passed, it could help reduce the burden of asthma by tracking asthma rates and promoting asthma control and prevention.
Ask your legislators to support the Elijah E. Cummings Family Asthma Act. Use our tool below to send a message to your representative. Just follow the steps: