21st Century Cures Act passes in Congress with bipartisan support

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21st Century Cures Act passes in Congress with bipartisan support

20 Dec, 2016

Earlier this month, Congress passed a healthcare bill that will drastically affect the future of disease research, drug and medical device development, and mental health support. The complex bill, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, had bipartisan support as it was passed with sweeping numbers by the House and then the Senate.

“The bipartisan passage of the 21st Century Cures Act is an example of the progress we can make when people from both parties work together to improve the health of our families, friends and neighbors,” said President Obama.

The bill has been in the works for two years and is a large victory for Obama as he heads out of office. It funds several of his own initiatives, including the Cancer Moonshot headed by Vice President Joe Biden.

The bill also represents the politicization of medicine, as it was one of the most heavily lobbied pieces of legislation in recent history. Dozens of pharmaceutical companies, device companies, and biotech products and research companies reported spending over $192 million in lobbying efforts over the bill. For schools, hospitals, and physician organizations, over $120 million spent in lobbying was reported.

Under the new legislation, the National Institutes of Health will receive $4.8 billion over 10 years to support research primarily in cancer, neurobiology, and genetics. Additionally, opioid abuse and mental health treatment will also be prioritized. Benefitting pharmaceutical and device companies, extra funding will help the FDA speed up drug approvals.

“We are now one step closer to ending cancer as we know it, unlocking cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, and helping people seeking treatment for opioid addiction finally get the help they need,” Obama said.

However, there are some who oppose the bill because it cuts $3.5 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which promotes the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, hospital acquired injury and infection, as well as obesity.

For more information: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/07/us/politics/21st-century-cures-act-senate.html?_r=0

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