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Jayapal, Bush Underscore Need to Study Long COVID, Better Fund Treatment Options

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today,  Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) led 17 of their colleagues in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure urging the leaders of the nation’s leading federal health agencies to address the lack of health monitoring and treatment funding for children and young people suffering from long COVID cases. Specifically, the two lawmakers implored the country’s top health leaders to make drastic improvements in the monitoring of children with COVID-19 infections, in addition to making all treatment options affordable and accessible to every patient.

“We urge the Department of Health and Human Services to take immediate action to improve the healthcare system to support and monitor children as the long-term effects of COVID-19 continue to harm them,” the members wrote. “The impact of potentially millions of children becoming permanently impaired from COVID-19 will have unforeseeable consequences unless policymakers immediately intervene. Given that human life and health are at risk, it is imperative that HHS remain a consistent and reliable steward of public health that presents a comprehensive, rapid federal response to controlling the spread of COVID-19.”

Specifically, the members of Congress are calling on the administration to:

  1. Immediately issue guidance to local, state, and federal public health officials emphasizing the need for better health monitoring of children during and after a COVID-19 infection. 
  2. Make data related to children’s health and COVID-19 available on the CDC website. 
  3. Remove any cost barriers to patients seeking post-COVID monitoring and care.
  4. Use all available authorities, including march-in rights, to make drugs needed by those suffering from COVID-19 long-term effects available to everyone.

The letter comes one month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published and released a study indicating that COVID-19 infections in children may be linked to lifelong health consequences, including diabetes.

The letter is co-signed by Reps. Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Barbara Lee (CA-13), André Carson (IN-07), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Michael San Nicolas (Guam-AL), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Darren Soto (FL-09), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Ro Khanna (CA-17). 

A full copy of the letter can be found here or below.