H.R. 34: 21st Century Cures Act

All eyes are on the 21st Century Cures Act this week, a bipartisan bill that would reform the current standards and appropriations for biomedical research, provide $1.75 billion annually for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $110 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This bill is one of the most-lobbied health care bills in recent history, with nearly three lobbyists working for its passage or defeat for every lawmaker on Capitol Hill.

SUMMARY

The 21st Century Cures Act is a bipartisan bill that would reform the current standards and appropriations for biomedical research, provide $1.75 billion annually for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $110 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This funding would end after five years. Support for this funding would come from budget offsets. Along with an increase in NIH and FDA funding, the bill would reduce regulations on access to medical research and expedite the testing processes of new drugs. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which released a section-by-section summary and a discussion document. The committee chairman, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI6), sponsored the bill. It passed by a vote of 344-77 . It received bipartisan support, with 170 Republicans and 174 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.

Lobbying

More than $192 million in lobbying expenses have been spent on the Cures Act and other legislative priorities by 58 pharmaceutical companies, 24 device companies and 26 biotech companies, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of lobbying data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Key Provisions

  • The law would provide $4.8 billion over 10 years in additional funding to National Institutes of Health, the federal government’s main biomedical research organization.
  • The money could help researchers at universities and medical centers get hundreds of millions more dollars in research grants, most of it toward research on cancer, neuroscience and genetic medicine.
  • The law would provide $1 billion in state grants over two years to address opioid abuse and addiction.
  • The Cures Act would also boost funding for mental health research and treatment, with hundreds of millions of dollars authorized for dozens of existing and new programs.
  • The law would push federal agencies and health providers nationwide to use electronic health records systems and to collect data to enhance research and treatment.
  • The Cures Act would cut $3.5 billion — about 30 percent — from the Prevention and Public Health Fund established under Obamacare to promote prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, hospital acquired infections, chronic illnesses and other ailments.
  • Medicaid would no longer help pay for drugs that help patients restore hair.
  • The law would gives FDA an additional $500 million through 2026 and more hiring power.

 

 

JAN 6, 2015
Introduced

This is the first step in the legislative process.

JAN 7, 2015
Passed House

The bill was passed in a vote in the House. It goes to the Senate next. The vote was by voice vote so no record of individual votes was made.

SEP 22, 2015
Text Published

Updated bill text was published as of Reported by Senate Committee.

OCT 6, 2015
Passed Senate with Changes

The Senate passed the bill with changes not in the House version and sent it back to the House to approve the changes. The vote was by Unanimous Consent so no record of individual votes was made.

NOV 30, 2016
Text Published

Updated bill text was published as of Passed the House (Engrossed) with an Amendment.

DEC 7, 2016
On Senate Schedule

The Senate indicated that this bill would be considered in the days ahead.

 

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