September/October Asthma and Allergy Advocacy Update: Passenger Rights on Planes, Protections in Schools and Access to OTC Medicines

 

Welcome to our first monthly advocacy update. My name is Jenna Riemenschneider, Director of Advocacy at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). I'm pictured above with Mark Vieth, Senior Vice President at Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis Associates, at a meeting with Airlines for America.

Through this monthly blog series, I will update you on our advocacy efforts. We have already had a busy fall. This first post will include our September and October activity.

AAFA’s Advocacy Focus

We focus our advocacy efforts on five general policy areas:

Access to Care, Medicine and Coverage

AAFA supports policies that ensure patients with asthma and allergies have access to and can afford their insurance, medicines and medical devices.

Clean Air/Climate and Health

AAFA supports clean, safe air for everyone. We advocate for strong standards to reduce harmful air pollutants that impact climate change.

Healthy Settings

AAFA supports policies that create healthy settings for those with asthma and allergies, especially in schools, child care centers, restaurants and airplanes. 

Food Allergies

AAFA focuses on food labeling, restaurant safety and access to epinephrine auto-injectors.

Federal Funding

AAFA supports funding for federal policies and programs that benefit people with asthma and allergies. Funding for these policies and programs ensures that:

  • Government agencies can conduct research to develop cures
  • Government agencies can address environmental asthma and allergy triggers
  • There is education and community-focused outreach
  • Individuals with asthma and allergies have access to evidence-based clinical services
  • Programs are in place to improve the care of individuals with asthma and allergies
     

We work on our own and in coalitions with other patient and public health organizations. 

AAFA Attended Advocacy Meetings on Schools, OTC Medicine and Air Travel

School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act (H.R.2468)

We are continuing to meet with lawmakers to ask them to co-sponsor this bill. Find out more about this bill and contact your representative using our simple online tool.

Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2019 (H.R. 1922)

H.R. 1922 is a bill that would allow you to buy over-the-counter (OTC) medicines with tax-preferred savings accounts. These are the accounts like flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs).

AAFA and other members of the Healthy Choices Coalition met with several lawmakers to ask them to co-sponsor this bill. On Oct. 23, the House Ways and Means Committee passed the bill by voice vote. This is an important first step in the legislative process. We will continue to advocate for this bill.

Epinephrine Auto-Injectors (EAIs) on Planes

AAFA is committed to getting EAIs on all planes. In the last two months, AAFA met with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), Senator Chuck Schumer’s office, Senator Tammy Duckworth’s office, the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) and Airlines for America (A4A). We will continue to work on this in the coming months.

Emotional Support Animals on Planes

AFA and A4A are also concerned about untrained emotional support animals on planes. We will continue to advocate for equal rights for people with asthma and allergies. We look forward to working for the health and safety concerns of all airline passengers.

Look for an update in December on a disability advocacy meeting hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

AAFA Signed Onto Letters for Clean Energy and the Vaping Crisis

AAFA signed eight letters of support or comment in the last two months. Read summaries of each letter on our Positions and Statements page.

I hope you have found this first update helpful. Contact me with questions or comments! To send a message to me, click my name at the top of this blog post and send me a private message.

Sign up to receive AAFA Advocacy Action Alerts! AAFA’s Action Alerts notify advocates about pending federal or state asthma and allergy legislation. You will receive email alerts on national or state issues. With your help, we can make a difference in the lives of people affected by asthma and allergies.

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