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The American Lung Association and its associates released their 2022 agenda to address the pervasive issue of asthma in the U.S.
Known as the “National Asthma Public Policy Agenda,” the collaborative project includes ideas focused on addressing issues in public health infrastructure and surveillance, outdoor air, healthcare systems and financing, homes, schools and workplaces.
In addition to supporting the reduction of greenhouse gasses, the public policy agenda advocates for the adoption of the Clean Air Act, improving indoor air quality in housing buildings, getting rid of potentially hazardous conditions that can make asthma worse in the workplace and learning how to deal with asthma in schools.
The plan puts an emphasis on addressing the disparities in communities disproportionately affected by asthma. According to a 2021 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Black Americans were found to have an increased 40% chance of developing asthma compared to white Americans and were three times more likely to have fatal results from developing asthma.
“Over 4,100 people die each year from asthma. Black Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma than white Americans and five times more likely to be treated for asthma in hospital emergency rooms,” said the President and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Kenneth Mendez, per a statement. “We must act now to support the recommendations contained in this agenda to fix the glaring disparities that persist in asthma mortality and morbidity in the United States.”
In the agenda, the groups advocate for providing better healthcare to communities- such as the Black community- that are discriminated against or aren’t able to access sufficient enough healthcare to deal with asthma.
According to a 2022 report by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, a government group that works alongside the United States Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, while the rate has decreased, Black Americans are still uninsured at higher rates than white Americans. While only 9% of white Americans are without healthcare, 12% of Black Americans are still uninsured.
Black Americans are also dealing with barriers in access to healthcare at higher rates than white Americans. According to the report, 18% of Black Americans reported having issues paying their medical bills compared to 12% of white Americans who reported having the same problem. Overall, 18% of Black Americans reported being worried about medical bills while only 11% of white Americans reported the same thing.
The National Asthma Public Policy Agenda also advocated for the adoption of clean-up efforts in communities affected by pollution. Research has shown that BIPOC neighborhoods are more likely to suffer from pollution.
According to a new report by tech company Aclima, Black neighborhoods and other BIPOC communities in the San Francisco Bay Area are breathing in air that has 55% more nitrogen dioxide than the air of white communities in the area.
The gas is one of the main components of smog and is associated with causing asthma.