Sanders targets Long COVID with ambitious health care legislation

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NEWPORT — Senator Bernie Sanders, Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today unveiled a draft legislative proposal aiming to tackle the Long COVID crisis, an issue impacting approximately 22 million Americans. The proposal outlines an aggressive approach to fund research, support patients, and inform public policy in response to the ongoing public health emergency.

Before introducing the bill to the Senate, the HELP Committee is seeking feedback from the Long COVID community, including patients, their families, researchers, and healthcare professionals. This input is intended to refine and strengthen the proposal, ensuring it effectively addresses the multifaceted challenges posed by Long COVID.

The draft proposal includes several key measures:

  1. Allocating $1 billion annually for ten years to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Long COVID research.
  2. Creating a centralized coordinating entity at NIH for Long COVID research, incorporating patient experiences.
  3. Establishing a new, expedited grant process for clinical trials focusing on Long COVID.
  4. Forming a research advisory board comprising scientists, healthcare providers, and Long COVID patients.
  5. Developing a Long COVID database to enhance research accessibility and data sharing.
  6. Mandating continued education for patients, providers, and the public about Long COVID.

The initiative follows a January hearing by the HELP Committee, which highlighted the urgent need for effective treatments and a deeper understanding of Long COVID.

The public is invited to review the detailed proposal and provide feedback by April 23, 2024, via email at [email protected]. Senator Sanders emphasizes the critical need for Congress to recognize and act on this significant public health issue, stressing that the suffering of millions of Americans cannot be overlooked.

This legislative effort represents a comprehensive approach to understanding, treating, and ultimately overcoming the challenges of Long COVID, reflecting an increasing recognition of its impact on American society.

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