Rep. Huffman Supports 21st Century Cures Act

December 01, 2016

Washington, D.C.- Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) voted to approve the 21st Century Cures Act, a bipartisan bill that will increase funding to combat the opioid addiction crisis, modernize the approval process for potentially life-saving drugs, update mental health programs for the first time in a decade, fund vital research initiatives including Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, and improves several key Medicare funding provisions.

While Congressman Huffman supported the legislation, he cautioned that Congress must provide the necessary resources that this legislation authorizes, including providing the funding needed for the FDA to implement new responsibilities under the bill.

“I am glad to support this important legislation so that families and communities who are dealing with addiction, mental illness, and rare diseases have access to state-of-the art, quality medical care that is backed by the latest research,” said Rep. Huffman. “The 21st Century Cures Act will promote new innovation for medical treatments and research, especially vital to those suffering from rare diseases, while also making strides to address the opioid addiction epidemic and provide new resources for mental health providers. No compromise is ever perfect, however, which is why we will now need to ensure full funding for the FDA and others to carry out the important public health initiatives in the bill.”

Specifically, this legislative package includes three parts:

  • 21st Century Cures: This bill dedicates $6.3 billion, fully paid for, over 10 years for certain key priorities – including an additional $4.8 billion for NIH Innovation. The $4.8 billion is dedicated primarily to carrying on three of the top biomedical research priorities of the Obama Administration -- $1.46 billion for the Precision Medicine Initiative, launched by President Obama in 2015; $1.51 billion for the BRAIN Initiative, launched by President Obama in 2013; and $1.8 billion for Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot. The bill also dedicates $1 billion over two years to combat the opioid epidemic, consistent with the President’s budget request. The bill also provides $500 million for FDA Innovation.
  • Mental Health Reform: The legislation includes numerous bipartisan mental health reform provisions, including establishing new grant programs for Adult Suicide Prevention and Strengthening Community Crisis Response Systems, reauthorizing and updating numerous critical mental health and substance use grant programs, and promoting evidence-based strategies for treating serious mental illness.
  • Medicare-Related Provisions: The legislation also includes numerous bipartisan Medicare-related provisions that have previously passed the House this year, including providing needed regulatory relief for Long-Term Care Hospitals.