Washington (May 27, 2022) – Today, Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) led their Senate colleagues in sending a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies urging the inclusion of additional funding to support long COVID patients in Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations legislation. The letter specifically called for $125 million for efforts to address long COVID, including funding to develop a long COVID patient registry; support for individuals with long COVID who seek assistance in obtaining disability benefits, health care coverage, and other forms of aid; expand long COVID clinics that bring together different types of clinicians to treat this multifaceted disease; and study disparities in long COVID diagnosis and treatment.
“For millions of Americans, the long-term impact of COVID-19 has been debilitating, disabling, or caused irreversible damage to their mental and physical health, months or even years after their initial infection,” wrote the Senators. “Long COVID desperately needs federal attention, resources, and funding.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Approximately 23 million Americans have been impacted by long COVID, with potentially millions more at risk as COVID-19 persists. Long COVID, or Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19, is the continuation or emergence of symptoms following an initial COVID-19 infection. These symptoms range from mild to debilitating and can last for months and even years. At the end of 2020, Congress appropriated $1.15 billion at the National Institutes of Health to study long COVID and develop and evaluate potential treatments. However, Congress has not taken additional steps to support patients and assist health care providers in caring for long COVID patients.
In addition to Senators Markey, Kaine, Duckworth, Smith, King, and Whitehouse, co-signers of this letter include Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Minn.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Earlier this year, Senators Markey, Kaine, and Duckworth partnered to introduce the CARE for Long COVID Act and the TREAT Long COVID Act, two pieces of legislation that would bolster federal efforts to support long COVID research and patients.