Congresswoman Martha Roby

Representing the 2nd District of Alabama

Roby: 21st Century Cures Act Gives Hope to Patients, Families

November 30, 2016
Representative Roby's Weekly Column

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-Ala.) today celebrated the House passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, legislation providing needed funding and policy improvements to help battle rare diseases, fight the nation’s opioid epidemic, and improve mental health care.
H.R. 34, 21st Century Cures Act, provides $4.8 billion in discretionary funding to the National Institute of Health (NIH), $1 billion for grants to states to fight opioid abuse, and $500 million to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to speed up delivering lifesaving drugs and devices to patients. The bill also modernizes electronic health record policies to allow for faster, more efficient delivery of care.
“The 21st Century Cures Act fosters innovation in medical technology and research, eliminates regulations that hinder competition, provides resources to combat the growing opioid epidemic, ensures critical support for those struggling with mental health issues, and rightfully reforms Medicare and Medicaid to reduce overpayments and provide reimbursements.” Roby said. “The bill improves medical treatment discovery, development, and delivery for those who need it most.”
The 21st Century Cures Act improves:
·      Discovery – by providing the NIH with fully offset funding to advance the Precision Medicine Initiative to drive research into the genetic, lifestyle, and environmental variations of disease; speed up cancer research; and invest in the BRAIN initiative to improve our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
·      Development – by turning 21st Century scientific advancement and research into FDA-approved treatments and cures through modernizing clinical trials; putting patients at the center of the regulatory review process; streamlining regulations to foster innovation in health care software and mobile medical apps; incentivizing pediatric drug development and empowering the FDA to be more flexible in reviewing medical devices and technologies; and providing the FDA with $500 million for regulatory modernization and enable the agency to recruit the best scientists, doctors, and engineers.
·      Delivery – by ensuring new drugs and devices are given to the right patients at the right time through ensuring that electronic health record systems seamlessly operate for best patient care; facilitating seniors’ access to the latest medical technology; and improving education for health care providers.
·      Mental Health Care – by coordinating mental health programs across the federal government; establishing the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Lab to drive evidence-based grants to help states combat addiction and abuse; clarifying HIPAA communication rules among providers, families, and patients to improve treatment; and strengthening our nation’s mental health workforce.
“This legislation gives hope to the millions of Americans suffering from cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other rare and deadly diseases. It also offers a way forward for dealing with two critical issues facing our country right now: mental health care and opioid abuse.
“It is time for the United States to once again lead the world in medical research and innovation, and I believe the 21st Century Cures Act puts us on that path.
“I want to thank my colleagues who have worked so hard to make this legislation a reality, particularly Sen. Lamar Alexander and Rep. Fred Upton, who shepherded it through their committees as chairmen. I also want to thank Rep. Tim Murphy, who has labored for years to get these strong improvements to mental health care policy."