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Asthma is the most common chronic health disorder in children, currently affecting one in seven – a historical high. Minority and low-income children are disproportionately affected by the disease, and the most likely to be hospitalized for its symptoms. In urban areas, over 80 percent of children struggle to keep their asthma under control; these children are more likely to sustain continuous exposure to dangerous environmental triggers, which can worsen their conditions. Consequently, asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. Asthma-related illnesses cause children to miss almost 13 million school days a year.
The impact of asthma on a child’s long-term health is contingent upon regular check-ups, prescribed treatment and follow-up care. Care is often delayed due to high costs, but the economic impact of untreated asthma is far greater in the long term. Many children with poorly controlled asthma lack health insurance, and their untreated asthma leads to repeated hospitalizations and emergency room visits, driving up health care costs. In Texas, for example, the cost for a child to visit a doctor in the early stages of an asthma attack is about $100, but going to the emergency room to treat full-blown asthma symptoms can result in a three-day hospital stay costing more than $7,300.
Comprehensive health coverage is important for children with chronic conditions like asthma. Studies show that children enrolled in health insurance programs like the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are more likely to receive early and aggressive care for their asthma, positively impacting their overall health, ability to stay in school and maintain a healthy lifestyle through adulthood.
Download CDF's factsheet on asthma (.pdf, 64 KB)