View of Capitol Hill from the streets

FAIRFAX, VA, APRIL 30, 2024 – Asthma and allergy treatment has seen remarkable innovation in the last 25 years, but this progress is still not reaching everyone. On May 8, Allergy & Asthma Network is hosting its 27th annual Allergy & Asthma Day Capitol Hill (AADCH) in Washington, DC to advocate for healthcare policies and legislation that leave no one behind – regardless of race, ethnicity, education, income level or where they live.

AADCH is a free advocacy event in which patients, families, advocates, industry partners and healthcare professionals go to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators and their staff. The goal is to raise awareness and urge passage of legislation and policies that end needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions.

Allergy & Asthma Network has scheduled in-person visits with members of Congress and their staff. The theme this year is “Breaking Barriers: Advancing Health Equity for All.” More than 100 AADCH advocates are expected to be on Capitol Hill to advocate for expanded access to safe, effective and affordable healthcare, diversity in research, and policies that aim to improve health outcomes for all.

More than 25 million Americans have asthma and 50+ million have allergies. These conditions disproportionately impact Black, Hispanic/Latino and Native American communities. Social, economic and environmental factors often play a key role in causing asthma and allergy disparities.

“Health disparities create barriers to accessing care and achieving optimal health,” says Lynda Mitchell, CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network. “This year we are headed to Capitol Hill to address challenges – including high out-of-pocket expenses, harmful insurance practices such as step therapy and prior authorization, and high-cost medications – that put Americans at risk for poorer health outcomes and deepen healthcare inequities. Each of these challenges can be addressed through federal legislation, policies, and sustained investments that promote respiratory health.”

During AADCH, Allergy & Asthma Network will ask Congress to support five bills that would help improve access to medication:

  • Safe Step Act improves health insurance step therapy protocols and ensures patients are able to obtain the best treatment prescribed for them.
  • Help Ensure Lower Patient (HELP) Copays Act requires health insurers to count the value of copay assistance toward deductibles or out-of-pocket maximums.
  • Epinephrine’s Pharma Inflated Price Ends Now (EPIPEN) Act caps out-of-pocket cost for a two-pack of epinephrine auto-injector devices at $60 for patients with employer-based or individually purchased health insurance.
  • Elijah E. Cummings Family Asthma Act expands the CDC’s National Asthma Control Program to all 50 states; directs the CDC to collaborate with state and local health departments on information and education to the public on asthma; requires the development of state plans around public health responses to asthma; and requires the collection and coordination of data on the impact of asthma.
  • Dillon’s Law incentivizes states to train, certify, and enable good Samaritans to give epinephrine to a person experiencing anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction), in the event they need the medication before emergency medical services can arrive.

Allergy & Asthma Network also advocates for greater clinical trial diversity to reflect real-world patient populations; and federal funding to support ongoing asthma and allergy research and health programs at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among others.

For a complete list of AADCH issues and priorities, visit our Advocacy Center.

In addition to advocacy visits, Allergy & Asthma Network will host its annual Congressional Lunch Briefing on May 8 in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC. The briefing features members of the Congressional Asthma & Allergy Caucus, presentations from leading allergists, NIH and EPA, and patient testimonials.

“We are excited to head back to Capitol Hill to advocate for legislation that is patient-first and reinforces health equity,” says Charmayne Anderson, Director of Advocacy at Allergy & Asthma Network. “When everyone has access to affordable healthcare and timely treatment, regardless of background or circumstances, it can lower healthcare costs and lead to better health outcomes.”

Advocates not able to attend AADCH in person can still participate on May 8 by sending emails to their representatives in Congress. Our Take Action webpage lists all active campaigns that need support. You will find template emails to send to your legislators, making advocating as easy as just a few clicks.

About Allergy & Asthma Network

Founded in 1985, Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading nonprofit outreach, education, advocacy and research organization for people and families living with allergies, asthma, and related conditions. Our mission is simple yet profound: to end needless death and suffering, empower people to take control of their health and well-being, and make healthcare more inclusive, equitable and accessible for people living with these conditions. We are committed to raising awareness, promoting understanding, offering resources, fostering collaboration, and advocating for policies and research that enhance the quality of life for everyone impacted by these conditions. We specialize in making medically accurate information understandable to all while promoting evidence-based care.