Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar     Subscribe     Contact Us    


21st Century Cures


 

Bipartisan Law Has Broad Healthcare Implications

Editor's Note: U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP), shared his thoughts on the recent passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 15, 2016. Enjoying broad bipartisan support, the Senate passed the measure 94 to 5, and the House passed it 392 to 26.


Last month Congress and President Obama delivered a Christmas miracle called "21st Century Cures" that will help improve the health of virtually every Tennessean.

This $6.3 billion bipartisan law will help us find cures for cancer, fight opioid addiction, treat mental illness, and better understand the brain to prevent diseases like Alzheimer's. It will help take advantage of this remarkable time in biomedical innovation, spur treatments and cures from cancer to rare pediatric diseases, and help move those treatments and cures more efficiently into medicine cabinets and doctors' offices, while maintaining our gold standard of safety.

The president said this bipartisan legislation was "an opportunity to save lives, and an opportunity we just can't miss."

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it "the most important legislation Congress will pass this year."

I've worked on this bill for two years as chair of the Senate health committee. Working with the senior Democrat Patty Murray (D-Wash.), we held 12 hearings, led five working groups, and passed 19 pieces of bipartisan legislation that formed much of the policies in this bill.

Working with our counterparts on the House health committee - Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and Democrats Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) - we also put together a surge of funding to help make dramatic strides in cancer treatments, to help advance our understanding of the brain and Alzheimer's, and to help achieve the promise of precision medicine, or specific, individualized treatments tailored to each person's unique genome and environment.

Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, has made "bold predictions" about the breathtaking advances to expect during the next decade from medical research: an artificial pancreas to treat diabetes, vaccines for HIV/AIDS and Zika, a universal flu vaccine, non-addictive pain medicines, a heart built from a patient's own cells, and early detection or even prevention of Alzheimer's.

Highlights of the 21st Century Cures Act:

  • Helps bring safe drugs and devices to market more quickly and at less cost by making needed reforms to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including: expedited review for breakthrough devices, increased patient involvement in the drug approval process, a streamlined review process for combination products that are both a drug and device, and freedom from red tape for software like fitbits or calorie counting apps.
  • Provides $4.8 billion to National Institutes of Health, including: $1.8 billion for Vice President Biden's "Cancer Moonshot" to speed cancer research; $1.4 billion for President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative to drive research into the genetic, lifestyle and environmental variations of disease; and $1.6 billion for the BRAIN Initiative to improve our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer's and speed diagnosis and treatment.
  • Provides $500 million to the FDA.
  • Provides $1 billion in grants to states to address the opioid crisis.
  • Addresses the country's mental health crisis and help the one out of five adult Americans suffering from mental illness receive the care they need.
  • Improves electronic health records for doctors and their patients.


Especially important for Tennessee, the bill will provide $1 billion in grants to states to help fight the opioid crisis. The new law also will help the one in five adults in this country who suffer from a mental illness get the treatment they need by the making the largest reforms to major mental health programs in a decade.

It also takes a significant step to help more Americans take advantage of regenerative medicine, which the Mayo Clinic has described as a "game-changing area of medicine with the potential to fully heal damaged tissues and organs." Nashville resident Doug Oliver has been an advocate for regenerative medicine. Doug was blind for more than a decade before doctors used stem cells from his hip and injected them into his eye and miraculously restored his sight. He has traveled to Washington multiple times to share his story and even helped my staff craft pieces of this legislation.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee has worked for two years with the Bipartisan Policy Center to help advance the legislation. 21st Century Cures will modernize the Food and Drug Administration. While biomedical research is making today one of the most exciting times ever in the field of medicine, our federal review and approval process takes too long and costs too much. The bill improves electronic health records to reduce the documentation burden for doctors and make it easier for patients to access their records and for doctors and hospitals to get the information they need to treat patients.

All these pieces will work together to help improve the lives and health of virtually every Tennessee family. That's why this new bipartisan law is a Christmas miracle.


U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is chairman of the senate's health committee and principal sponsor, along with Sen. Patty Murray (D. Wash.), of "21st Century Cures"






WEB:

Background on 21st Century Cures Act

Senate HELP Committee

Sen. Lamar Alexander

 
Share:

Related Articles:


Recent Articles

The 2019 Legislative Agenda

A new governor and many new legislators make 2019 a learning year as the state's top healthcare organizations seek to address a number of old issues and tweak some new solutions unveiled last year.

Read More

Updated Cholesterol Guidelines Take a Personalized Approach

The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released updated cholesterol clinical guidelines in November 2018, taking a more nuanced approach to care over a patient's lifetime.

Read More

Sharing Data, Saving Lives

In an increasingly connected medical ecosystem where patient safety, health status improvement, and provider reimbursement are impacted at every point along the continuum, the need to efficiently, securely share data appears to have reached a tipping point.

Read More

New Rules in Heart Disease

A number of guideline changes and updates warrant more education around statin use and blood pressure monitoring, but local cardiologists say the higher standards are a game changer.

Read More

Dr. Ashish Shah: A Heart for Transplant Patients

Dr. Ashish Shah is the driving force behind the growth and innovation at one of the nation's busiest heart transplant programs.

Read More

Heart Monitor

Cardiovascular news of note.

Read More

ECMO Program Thriving at TriStar Centennial

A TriStar Centennial, a team approach is key to hospital's successful ECMO program.

Read More

Alexander Looks for Innovation, Asks Council Fellows for Input

Sen. Lamar Alexander asks stakeholders and future leaders to weigh in on ways to improve health outcomes, lower costs.

Read More

CMS Utilizes Dartboard Approach to Modernizing the Medicare Drug Benefit

Controlling pharmaceutical prices remains a hot topic, judging from the 6,415 comments received in response to the CMS proposed rule: "Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses."

Read More

A Conversation with LHC Director Molly Vice

Every company should have a succession plan. LHC plays a key role in planning for the next generation of leaders for an entire industry.

Read More

Email Print
 
 

 

 


Tags:
21st Century Cures, Behavioral Health, Biomedical Innovation, FDA, Healthcare Law, Lamar Alexander, Mental Health Parity, Opioid Addiction, Patty Murray
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: