Group Calls for Efforts To Reduce Asthma Rates
The Merck Childhood Asthma Network on Thursday asked local advocacy groups to organize and Congress to act on legislation that could reduce asthma rates among children, CQ HealthBeat reports. According to MCAN, part of the Merck philanthropic foundation, asthma affects about 6.5 million U.S. children, more than all other chronic conditions. Nicole Laurie, a natural scientist at RAND and a professor of policy analysis, said Congress should pass bills that would provide health insurance for all children, increase the minimum wage and improve air quality. She said such legislation would have a "spillover effect" on asthma rates because the condition disproportionately affects lower-income children. In addition, Laurie said "improving housing conditions" would help reduce some of the environmental factors that cause asthma. Noreen Clark, a professor at the University of Michigan, said Congress should increase funds for the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment program under Medicaid and reauthorize funds for the SCHIP program. She also cited the need to establish a "national network" that would "gather, evaluate and disseminate asthma information" and a "coordinated strategy" among federal agencies to fight the condition (Spieler, CQ HealthBeat, 12/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.