Eshoo, Burgess, DeGette, Guthrie Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Study Full Health Impacts of COVID-19

May 5, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael C. Burgess (R-TX), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Dianna DeGette (D-CO), and Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-KY) today introduced H.R.6701, the Ensuring Understanding of COVID-19 to Protect Public Health Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a longitudinal study on mild, moderate, and severe cases of COVID-19 to ensure we gain a full understanding of both the short and long-term health impacts of the novel coronavirus. U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced identical legislation in the Senate.

“There’s still so much we don’t know about COVID-19 and the short- and long-term impacts of this novel virus on the human body and diverse populations,” said Chairwoman Eshoo. “This information is essential for health care providers to develop effective, comprehensive treatments for all patients. The National Institutes of Health is uniquely positioned to conduct a nationwide, diverse longitudinal study to provide this critical data, and I’m proud to introduce this legislation to give the NIH the resources to do so.”

“Since coming to Washington, I have experienced several outbreaks, but nothing quite like COVID-19. Our government and our public health system has learned valuable lessons about what is an effective public health response, but we must have a comprehensive understanding of the disease. Studying the short-term and long-term health impacts of COVID-19 will provide us with more knowledge of the full effects of this virus and inform our future efforts to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” said Ranking Member Burgess.

“More than a million Americans have now tested positive for the coronavirus. While many have recovered, we still don’t know how this unprecedented virus – or new treatment options – may impact their health moving forward. By directing NIH to conduct this longitudinal study, we will better understand the short- and long-term health impacts of this pandemic – and what further steps will be needed to protect the public health,” said Chair DeGette.

“Our country is battling an invisible enemy, and we must ensure we examine all aspects of this terrible virus,” said Ranking Member Guthrie. “Because COVID-19 is so new to us, we have many unanswered questions on how it affects patients long-term. By understanding the short- and long-term health ramifications of COVID-19, we can work to provide better treatment of this virus. As the Republican leader of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, I was proud to join Senators Rosen and Rubio and Reps. Burgess, DeGette, and Eshoo to introduce the Ensuring Understanding of COVID-19 to Protect Public Health.”

Background 

The bipartisan Ensuring Understanding of COVID-19 to Protect Public Health Act would direct the NIH to:

  • Conduct a nationwide COVID-19 study of health outcomes and symptoms, including long-term impact on lung function and immune response, and the impact of treatments.
    • The study would include a wide variety of patients, to ensure diversity among race, ethnicity, geography, age, gender, and underlying health conditions; and
    • Monitor mental health outcomes.
  • The goal of the study is to gain a full understanding of both the short-term and long-term health impacts of COVID-19.
  • The findings would be released publicly every 3 months for the first two years, and every 6 months thereafter.

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