Mixed News as Various Asthma Policies Stall or Move Forward

Early summer is always a busy time on the funding front, and this year is no different. Policy makers at the state and federal level are considering budget proposals and legislation that can, for better or worse, impact asthma in the months and years ahead. Here’s a brief run-down on some of the latest.

First the Bad News – State Funding for Asthma and School Health Centers
As part of a “Public Health Reinvestment” fund, budget leaders in the California Assembly had proposed $1 million for the Asthma Public Health Initiative and $3 million for school-based health centers (SBHCs) – the first such allocation in years. Unfortunately, no funding for either program made it into the final budget. Given the outpouring of support for these programs from stakeholders in California, we are hopeful for future success in advocating for such allocations.

Now the Wait-and-See News – Federal Funding for the National Asthma Control Program
In early June, the U.S. Senate Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee debated funding levels for Fiscal Year 2015, including support for the National Asthma Control Program (NACP), the federal government’s only program devoted exclusively to reducing the burden of asthma.

What we know is that for the Centers for Disease Control (which runs the NACP), the committee allocated $170.9 million more over the previous fiscal year and $392.3 million over the President’s budget request. What we don’t yet know is how much specifically was approved for the NACP. This information likely won’t be released for several months. Since President Obama requested $28 million for the NACP, we are hopeful the Senate will appropriate a similar if not higher amount.

Finally, the Good News – Pest-Free Housing is One Step Closer!
Again in early June the California Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development unanimously approved a bill that would reduce pest-infestations in housing in California! Co-sponsored by RAMP, SB 1167 would ensure that landlords cited for a pest infestation also address any substandard housing conditions that contribute to the infestation. Addressing these conditions will result in more effective long-term elimination of pest infestations, healthier living conditions for residents, and healthier communities.

The bill now moves to the Assembly floor, where we’re hoping for quick passage before the bill goes to the Governor.