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March 20, 2023

King Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Boost Long COVID Research, Treatment Efforts

Legislation would support resources and education to improve Maine people’s lives and livelihoods

WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Senator Angus King has introduced legislation to help Maine people and Americans nationwide living with long-term COVID-19 symptoms. The Comprehensive Access to Resources and Education (CARE) For Long COVID Act will improve research and provide resources for people with Long COVID. 

Long COVID or post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems that people experience after being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. These symptoms range from mild to debilitating and can last for months and even years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that over 53% of adults in the U.S. report having had COVID-19, with 28% of adults who had COVID-19 experiencing some form of Long COVID.

“While our ability to treat and respond to COVID-19 has improved throughout the pandemic, we are still addressing the challenges of this disease – and we need to remain vigilant to support those who face serious health complications,” said Senator King. “The CARE for Long COVID Act is not only important for individuals dealing with ongoing health struggles, it is essential for entire communities. Long COVID symptoms have contributed to workforce shortages, and sometimes prevented Maine people from taking care of their families. By supporting our neighbors, we are prioritizing the health of and long-term success of our state.”

To help those Americans, the CARE for Long COVID Act would:

  • Accelerate Long COVID research by authorizing the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in coordination with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), to centralize and synthesize robust data-sets regarding patient experiences with Long COVID and related conditions for future research;  
  • Improve understanding of Long COVID treatment efficacy and disparities by authorizing HHS to study the health care system’s response to Long COVID and provide recommendations for how to improve that response;
  • Educate Long COVID patients and medical providers through efforts at the CDC to develop and disseminate information on common symptoms and treatment for Long COVID and related conditions; 
  • Facilitate interagency coordination to educate the public, including employers and schools, on the impact of Long COVID and the rights associated with employment, disability status, and education for individuals with Long COVID; and 
  • Develop partnerships between community-based organizations, social service providers, and legal assistance providers to help individuals with Long COVID access needed services.  

“Health Centers across the state are working hard to provide relief to people experiencing returning and ongoing symptoms of COVID-19. Dedicating more resources to address these conditions would make a real difference in the lives of thousands, improve the continued pandemic response, and show healthcare workers that Congress has their back,” said Christopher J. Pezzullo, Maine Primary Care Association Chief Clinical Officer. “The Maine Primary Care Association appreciates Senator King’s commitment to supporting the health of Maine people and his efforts on this important bill.”

Joining Senator King on this legislation are, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Jack Reed (D-RI). U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Jack Bergman (R-MI) are leading companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The CARE for Long COVID Act is endorsed by Allergy and Asthma Network, Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy, Alliance for Patient Access, Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer's Impact Movement, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, American Academy of Neurology, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American Brain Coalition, American Epilepsy Society, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Gastroenterological Association, American Geriatrics Society, American Heart Association, American Physical Therapy Association, American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Society of Neuroradiology, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Association of Academic Physiatrists, Association for University Centers on Disabilities, Ballad Health, Brain Injury Association of America, Cohen Veterans Bioscience, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, COVID-19 Health and Safety Taskforce, COVID-19 Longhauler Advocacy Project, Derma Care Access Network, Dysautonomia International, Federation of American Hospitals, Hope for HIE, International Association of Fire Fighters, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Long COVID Families, National Association of State Head Injury Administrators, National Center for Health Research, National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), National Council of Urban Indian Health, National Hispanic Medical Association, Pandemic Patients, Partnership to Advance Cardiovascular Health, Patient-Led Research Collaborative, Social Security Action, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Interventional Radiology, Solve M.E., Survivor Corps, The Arc, The Headache and Migraine Policy Forum, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

The bill text can be found here. A summary of the legislation is available here.

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