January 02, 2017

From The Mailbag: The 21st Century Cures Act

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

As participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me with valuable input about the issues our country faces.  Realizing that many may not have the chance to contact me, I post the top five issues of concern from Idahoans and my responses on my website.  The following is my response regardingthe 21 st Century Cures Act:

I voted in favor of this important legislation.  The 21 stCentury Cures Act, H.R. 34, is a landmark health care innovation package that will accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of new cures and treatments.  The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 34 on November 30, 2017, by a vote of 392-26.  Then, the Senate passed it on December 7, 2016, by a vote of 94-5.  President Obama signed the bill into law on December 13, 2016. 

This comprehensive legislation contains a wide variety of policies, but its centerpiece is the establishment of Innovation Funds within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  H.R. 34 authorizes $4.8 billion over ten years to the NIH and $500 million to the FDA.  These funds are subject to the annual appropriations process and the increased discretionary spending will be offset with an equivalent amount of savings from mandatory programs.  The 21 stCentury Cures Act includes the following key components:  

  • $4.8 billion over ten years for the NIH to be used for the Precision Medicine Initiative, the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovation Neurotechnologies Initiative, cancer research and regenerative medicine using adult stem cells,
  • $500 million over ten years to clear out the FDA backlog and increase the speed at which drugs and medical devices are approved,
  • $1 billion over two years for grants to states to supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment programs, and
  • numerous provisions that address the country's mental health crisis and help the one in five Americans living with mental illness.

The passage of the 21 stCentury Cures Act is a critical first step in modernizing health care.  Throughout my tenure in the U.S. Senate, I have always supported medical research initiatives and will continue do so.  Scientists, researchers and doctors continue to make great strides in finding treatments and cures for many conditions; however, there is still much that we do not know.  We need ongoing research to better understand all aspects of medicine.  I look forward to continuing to promote health policies that are in the best interests of all Idahoans.

To view responses to the top five issues of interest, please visit my website at: http://crapo.senate.gov.  

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