Key Issues

What is Allergy & Asthma Network’s Policy Agenda?

Our state and federal policy agenda supports our mission.

Allergy & Asthma Network’s mission:
End the needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions.

Our policy agenda involves key issues in five main areas.

Key Advocacy Issues Include:

Photo of nurse with patient in doctor's office. She is taking his pulse and they are both smiling.

Improve Access to Medical Care and Treatment

We know that people need good healthcare and insurance coverage. Both are essential for people to achieve the most successful health outcomes.

Facts about this issue:

  • People who rely on government programs need good coverage.
  • High prescription drug prices put Americans at risk. People need access to safe, effective and affordable medicines. This is especially true for people with chronic conditions such as asthma and severe allergies
  • People have specific medical needs and may benefit from new treatments and technologies. In the last 10+ years, these innovations include:
    • biologic medications
    • immunotherapy
    • telehealth
    • remote patient monitoring
  • Lack of access to affordable medicines has led to patients:
    • not filling their prescriptions
    • reducing the dosage to make a supply last longer
    • buying medicines from foreign countries
    • substituting alternative therapies


What we advocate for on this issue:

  • People who rely on Medicare and Medicaid need improved health benefits.
  • People need access to safe, effective and affordable treatments and medications when they need them.
  • People need access to innovative therapies and technology.
Black child breathing into asthma screening device

Asthma and Allergy Program Funding

Federal health programs improve healthcare quality and safety for people. These programs support disease awareness, management and research and benefit all Americans, including those with asthma and allergies.

Facts about this issue

Federal government agencies fund outreach, education and research initiatives. These agencies include:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)

What we advocate for on this issue: 

  • Continued funding to support federal health programs.
Photo of young tween girl in hospital ICU bed. She has a unhappy expression while the nurse is monitoring her stats on a medical machine.

Reduce Health Risks for Allergy and Asthma Emergencies

We know that asthma and severe allergies cause needless death and suffering. Many people with these conditions face a reduced quality of life.


Facts about these issues:

  • Asthma remains one of the most serious chronic diseases.
  • 24 million Americans live with asthma.
  • 6 million children have asthma.
  • Schoolchildren with asthma miss 13.8 million school days per year.
  • 3,600 Americans die each year from asthma.
  • 20 million people have food, insect venom, medication and latex allergies. These allergies can lead to a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis. 
  • One in 13 children has food allergies, or roughly two in every classroom.
  • There are approximately 1500 deaths each year due to anaphylaxis.
  • The first-line treatment for anaphylaxis is epinephrine. Epinephrine is a lifesaving medication.
  • Improved food labeling will help people identify food allergens. People would not have to rely on contacting the food manufacturer to determine if a product is safe.
  • Asthma and allergy cost the U.S. healthcare system $80 billion each year. These costs include:
    • costs for emergency department visits and hospitalizations;
    • costs for missed school days and workdays.

What we advocate for on this issue:

  • Changes that will improve quality of life for people with asthma and allergies.
  • Improvements that will reduce asthma or allergy hospitalizations and deaths.
  • Schools need to stock albuterol and epinephrine.
  • Standardized Asthma Action Plans will help schools manage a child’s health.
  • Students need regular access to a school nurse.
  • People need easy access to epinephrine, a life saving medication, in schools and public places.
  • People need a standard, easy-to-read, front-of-package nutrition labeling system.
Photo of two smokestacks from a factory blowing pollution into the air.

Mitigate Environmental Health Hazards

We know that people with lung diseases need to breathe clean air and drink healthy water. Air pollution, climate change and waterborne bacteria are all bad for lung health. Environmental hazards are especially risky for communities of color, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor.

Facts about this issue

Environmental asthma risks and triggers can include:

  • Ground-level ozone and particulate matter (e.g., dust, dirt, soot or smoke)
  • Living or working near major sources of harmful air pollution. (e.g., major roadways, solid waste landfills)
  • Pollen and mold
  • Dust mites, cockroaches and mice
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Living in substandard housing

Increases in carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases impact the climate. This results in rising global temperatures. It causes changes in flowering time and pollen development. And it leads to a rise in wildfire severity, droughts, heavy rain and floods.

Legionella is a waterborne bacterium.

  • Legionella is found in homes and buildings
  • Wherever there is water, there is risk for exposure to legionella.
  • People with asthma and compromised immune systems are more likely to become sick if exposed

What we advocate for:

  • Solutions to reduce environmental hazards to support lung health.
  • Improvements in the environment to support health equity.
Male doctor holding a stethoscope over the heart of a toddler patient accompanied by his mother.

Improving Health Equity

Health equity interventions are needed to support better health outcomes for all. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health equity is when everyone has “a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health.”

Facts about this issue:

  • Health disparities exists when the health status of groups of people face more obstacles to maintaining good health than other groups, often because of specific social or economic factors.
  • Health disparities cross ethnic and socioeconomic groups and impact individual health and well-being in many ways including:
    • Healthcare access
    • Employment
    • Housing
    • Transportation
    • Air Pollution
    • Education
    • Language and culture
  • Asthma and allergy rates are higher in poor urban areas and more common in African-American and Hispanic children.

What we advocate for:

  • Access to health care services (general and specialized care), including telehealth services
  • Healthcare workforce diversity
  • Asthma tracking and surveillance in all states
  • In-home allergen programs
  • Expand health literacy
  • Transportation access
  • Reduce environmental health hazards

Download the PDF: Asthma, Atopic Dermatitis and Food Allergy Impacts in Communities that are Underserved