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Pallone on President Obama Signing 21st Century Cures Act

Dec 13, 2016
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) issued the following statement today after President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34), into law.  Pallone was the lead House Democratic negotiator on this legislation, and worked closely with Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX) during ongoing negotiations with Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA):  

“Today’s signing of the 21st Century Cures Act marks an important step toward new treatments and cures for some of the most debilitating and life-threatening diseases that afflict millions of Americans. 

“I’m particularly proud of the billions of dollars in funding for Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, research to increase our understanding and treatment of brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injury, and grants for states and communities hard-hit by the opioid abuse crisis.  These investments will provide hope for millions of people battling cancer, seeing a loved one in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, or a parent trying desperately to help a child battling opioid addiction. 

“The investments included in the final bill were essential to producing bipartisan support in Congress, which would not have been possible without the leadership of President Obama and Vice President Biden. 

“I’m also pleased that we were able to include important reforms to our broken mental health system and improved access for kids to inpatient psychiatric treatment through Medicaid. 

“Now that Cures is law, we must ensure that the funding promises included in this law are fulfilled in the coming years.”

Background:

The 21st Century Cures Act will designate over $6 billion to implement cutting-edge health initiatives:

  • $1.8 billion to support the Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot.  The Moonshot aims to accelerate research efforts and make new therapies available to more patients, while also improving our ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.
  • $1.5 billion is designated for the President’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative that finds new ways to treat, cure, and prevent brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.
  • $1.45 billion for the Precision Medicine Initiative, which was launched by President Barack Obama in 2015, which will help researchers develop medicines tailored to individuals, rather than one-size-fits-all treatments.
  • $1 billion will be allocated to fighting the opioid epidemic by providing grants to states to supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment activities like improving prescription drug monitoring programs, implementing prevention activities, training for health providers and expanding access to opioid treatment and recovery programs.
  • $500 million to the FDA to foster innovation and to help implement numerous provisions in the bill intended to improve FDA’s medical product review in order to expedite patient access to important drugs and medical devices.

The legislation also includes bipartisan mental health reforms.  These include expanding access to mental health services for children through Medicaid, renewed emphasis on evidence-based strategies for treating serious mental illness, improved coordination between primary care and behavioral health services, reauthorization of important programs focused on suicide prevention and other prevention services.

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