Final 21st Century Cures Bill Released
Over the weekend, House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released the final version of the 21st Century Cures Act. The bipartisan innovation package is the result of over two years of work spearheaded by Rep. Upton and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). The updated language includes $6.3 billion to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of cures to patients while providing new funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition, the bill includes provisions to update mental health programs; fund $1 billion in state grants to combat opioid abuse; advance the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI); and provides $1.8 billion to continue Vice-President Biden’s cancer moonshot. The new spending offsets primarily come from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The House Committee on Rules will hold a hearing on the 21st Century Cures Act Tuesday evening, the House anticipates a Wednesday vote on the bill, and the Senate is expected to act on the legislation before the end of December.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, November 29: The House Committee on Rules will hold a hearing on the Senate Amendment to H.R. 34, Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015 (The 21st Century Cures Act).
- Wednesday, November 30: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing titled “USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force) Transparency and Accountability Act of 2016.”
- Wednesday, November 30: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations will hold a hearing titled “Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program: Examining Premium Increases.”
HHS Rule on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program
On Monday, November 21, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final rule implementing provisions of the Affordable Care Act that expand access to health coverage through Medicaid improvements and coordination between, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the exchanges. The rule finalizes remaining provisions of the proposed rule “Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Programs, and Exchanges: Essential Health Benefits in Alternative Benefit Plans, Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes for Medicaid and Exchange Eligibility Appeals and Other Provisions Related to Eligibility and Enrollment for Exchanges, Medicaid and CHIP, and Medicaid Premiums and Cost Sharing” which was published in the Federal Register on January 22, 2013. The regulations are effective on January 20, 2017 and the rule will be published in the Federal Register on November 30, 2016.