21st Century Cures Act Brings Hope
Part of what set the United States apart as the world's preeminent nation in the 20th century was the incredible way we were able to marshal resources and talent to meet seemingly impossible challenges. The moonshot and our triumphs in world wars come to mind as examples, but Americans have also contributed extraordinary gains in health care by developing medicines that have dramatically improved the longevity and quality of life around the globe. However, as the 21st century rolls on, I am increasingly concerned that too much government regulation and a lack of focus are inhibiting us from taking the next step in treating and curing the awful diseases that plague us.
There are 10,000 known diseases in the world. 7,000 of them are considered rare, and we only have treatments for 500 of them. This leaves millions of Americans suffering from thousands of rare and deadly diseases without answers, solutions, cures, or hope. For the greatest country in the world – the country that cured smallpox, polio, yellow fever, and more – with all our incredible potential, these numbers are completely unacceptable.
It is past time for the United States to once again lead the world in medical research and innovation – to diligently work towards finding treatments and cures for these 10,000 diseases. Last week, the House passed the H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act, and I’m excited to report that I believe this legislation puts us on that path.
The 21st Century Cures Act provides much needed funding and policy improvements to help battle rare diseases, fight our nation’s opioid epidemic, ensure support for those struggling with mental health issues, and rightfully reforms Medicare and Medicaid to reduce overpayments and provide reimbursements. The bill also modernizes electronic health records to allow for faster, more efficient delivery of care.
Bottom line: the 21st Century Cures improves medical treatment discovery, development, and delivery for those who need it most. The bill improves treatment discovery by speeding up cancer research, investing in the BRAIN initiative to improve our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s, and by supporting programs that drive research into different variations of disease.
The bill improves treatment development by modernizing clinical trials to put patients at the center of the regulatory review process. It streamlines regulations to turn scientific advancement and research into FDA-approved treatments, and it empowers the FDA to be more flexible in reviewing medical devices and technologies.
The 21st Century Cures Act improves delivery of medical treatment by making sure that new drugs and devices are given to the right patient at the right time. The bill eliminates regulations that stifle marketplace competition.
We don’t often think about diseases like smallpox, polio, or yellow fever, because bold advances in scientific research developed medicines to cure them. After House passage of this important legislation, I’m feeling more confident in our nation’s ability to combat disease in this century, and I imagine that some Americans and families suffering from cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, opioid addiction, and mental health issues are feeling something they may not have felt in a long time: hope.