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Beyer, Bergman Announce Introduction Of Bipartisan COVID-19 Long Haulers Act

Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Jack Bergman (R-MI) today announced that they would introduce the COVID-19 Long Haulers Act, bipartisan legislation to help people suffering from long term COVID. The bill aims to improve the Long COVID patient experience by educating the public and clinicians about Long COVID, synthesizing research on symptoms and treatments, and fostering  research and recommendations on how to improve the health care system’s response to long-term symptoms of COVID–19.

“Not nearly enough attention is being paid to sufferers of Long Covid, people who got sick and recovered from their initial infections but then experienced long term effects which in many cases were much worse. Our bill would take important steps to help this important group, which includes millions of Americans,” said Rep. Beyer. “The COVID-19 Long Haulers Act would fund research and promote the sharing of data to identify and disseminate causes and, hopefully, effective treatments for these conditions. It is important to build on the research Congress has already funded to do all we can to alleviate the suffering and improve the lives of Covid long haulers.”

“I’m honored to be able to help introduce this important legislation with Rep. Beyer,” said Rep. Bergman. “Over the past year, we have seen increasing reports of individuals who have mostly recovered from COVID-19 continuing to experience symptoms months after their initial infection. The problem of Long COVID presents a clear threat on our ability to fully recover from the pandemic, and I’m glad to be a part of bipartisan cooperation to address this issue once again. In combination with the NIH research funding we have already signed into law, the COVID-19 Long Haulers Act will give us the tools we need to understand, identify, and treat the long-term symptoms of COVID-19.”

Beyer and Bergman announced the introduction of the bill during a discussion with long term Covid patients and patient advocates hosted by the Solve ME/CFS Initiative.

“We are incredibly honored and proud to have the support of Rep. Don Beyer and Rep. Jack Bergman to not only help us raise awareness of ME/CFS, but for their clear understanding that it is critical to attain much-needed funding and policy solutions,” said Oved Amitay, President and CEO of Solve ME/CFS Initiative. “Already, approximately 2.5 million Americans are afflicted with ME/CFS and COVID-19 is on target to double that number. Funding for education, research and treatment surrounding Long Covid and associated post-viral diseases like ME/CFS is not an option, it’s non-negotiable. The health of our nation depends on it.”

A one-pager on the bill is available here, and legislative text is here.

Beyer previously introduced a different version of this legislation in the 116th Congress which focused on funding for research into causes of and treatments for Long Covid. Congress ultimately funded research at the National Institutes of Health in its end-of-year spending and relief package. Beyer and Bergman’s legislation as introduced in the 117th Congress focuses on promoting the sharing of medical information on patient experiences to identify the most effective treatments and health care strategies, and to use that information to educate patients and medical providers.