March 8, 2022
Pressley Leads Lawmakers Urging Congress to Support Relief for Those with Long COVID
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) led 23 of her colleagues urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to help ensure a just and equitable pandemic recovery by including robust, dedicated funding to support people battling Long COVID in a future coronavirus relief package. The lawmakers’ letter comes after the White House named addressing Long COVID as a priority in its updated National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.
“Congress must use every available tool to immediately respond to this crisis within a crisis. Across the country, in every Congressional district, people are suffering from Long COVID,” Rep. Pressley wrote. “It is incumbent upon the federal government to be responsive to their needs with investments in educating the medical community and broader public on the illness, expanding access to multidisciplinary treatment, and funding inclusive research into long-term health outcomes with robust data collection.”
Although there is no official count of people with the ailment, a conservative estimate of ten percent of documented COVID-19 survivors means 7.8 million people in the United States are afflicted, disproportionately from the most marginalized communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with Long COVID may experience a combination of symptoms, ranging from extreme fatigue and cognitive dysfunction to muscle pain and gastrointestinal issues to difficulty breathing, insomnia, and heart palpitations.
“Congress must act. The millions of people suffering from Long COVID need us to take bold, decisive action,” Rep. Pressley continued. “Hence, any future COVID relief package must include robust funding to address Long COVID. We will not be able to recover from the pandemic if we do not confront Long COVID.”
The letter was co-signed by Representatives Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (NY-12), Cori Bush (MO-01), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Judy Chu (CA-27), Jim Costa (CA-16), Mike Doyle (PA-18), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Darren Soto (FL-09), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Bennie Thompson (MS-02), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07).
Full text of the letter is available here.
In January 2022, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08) sent a letter to the CDC urging it to publicly report findings on the prevalence of Long COVID, including disaggregated demographic data. Later that month, she held a virtual roundtable with healthcare providers, advocates, and patients on how to address the crisis of Long COVID.
Rep. Pressley has continued to advocate for people suffering from Long COVID and for disaggregated demographic data on COVID-19 to better address the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color.
- In March 2020, Rep. Pressley and Sen. Warren urged HHS to collect racial and ethnic demographic data on testing and treatment for COVID-19 to identify and address racial disparities.
- In April 2020, Rep. Pressley, Sen. Markey, and Sen. Warren also sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calling on the agency to immediately release racial and ethnic data of Medicare beneficiaries who are tested or hospitalized for COVID-19.
- In April 2020, Rep. Pressley and Senator Warren led their colleagues introducing the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act, legislation to require the federal government to collect and publicly release racial and other demographic data on COVID-19.
- Aspects of the legislation were included in an COVID-19 relief package signed into law later that month.
- In April 2020, Rep. Pressley urged Governor Baker to rescind the Commonwealth’s proposed Crisis of Care Standards that would have disproportionately harmed Black and Brown communities and the disability community.
- In July 2020, Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking for HHS’s report on the administration’s efforts to address racial disparities in health care access and outcomes, as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- In December 2020, at the request of Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) agreed to investigate how COVID-19 relief funds have been distributed to disproportionately affected communities.
- In January 2021, Rep. Pressley and Senator Warren applauded President Biden’s executive order to ensure an equitable pandemic response and recovery, which contained several provisions championed by the lawmakers.
- In February 2021, Rep. Pressley, Senator Warren, and Senator Markey led your colleagues in re-introducing the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act, legislation to require the federal government to collect and publicly release racial and other demographic data on COVID-19.
- In February 2021, Rep. Pressley, Senator Warren, and Rep. Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) reintroduced the COVID-19 in Corrections Data Transparency Act, bicameral legislation that would require the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshals Service, and state governments to collect and publicly report detailed statistics about COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccinations in federal, state, and local correctional facilities.
- In July 2021, Rep. Pressley and Senator Warren urged Governor Baker to continue reporting demographic data on COVID-19 hospitalizations.
- In August 2021, with the new delta variant surging, Rep. Pressley called on Governor Baker to step up efforts to reduce COVID spread in Massachusetts and resume comprehensive data collection on who is contracting COVID-19.
- In December 2021, with omicron surging, Rep. Pressley wrote to Governor Baker urging him to pursue a data-driven and holistic statewide plan to combat COVID-19 and to continue publishing comprehensive, disaggregated data on vaccination rates and COVID infection, including breakthrough cases.
- In December 2021, Rep. Pressley and Sens. Warren and Markey wrote to CDC and HHS urging them to monitor, report, and address racial and other ethnic demographic disparities in breakthrough COVID-19 cases nationwide.