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What Is the 21st Century Cures Act?

The 21st Century Cures Act is a sweeping medical bill that was passed in early December 2016. The legislation, accounting for $6.3 billion, promises to help pay for cancer research, fund the fight against opioid abuse, give money to mental health treatment, and assist the FDA in faster drug approvals. It will also push for better use of technology in the medical field. This bill has been in the works for two years.

If the bill seems broad and ambitious, that’s because it certainly is. President Obama declared that it brings us one significant step closer to curing both Alzheimer’s and cancer. He also claimed that it would be effective in assisting those dealing with opioid addiction. Nearly $3 billion of the bill will be invested in biomedical research launched by the Obama Administration. That money will be used in the BRAIN and Precision Medicine Initiatives – innovative medical practices that will change how we understand, diagnose and cure diseases.

In addition, $500 million a year will be provided to help states in their fights against opioid abuse, a growing concern across the country. The money will be spent to also provide better care and treatment for opioid addicts. Rural areas will benefit especially, where opioid abuse has unfortunately grown rampant.

This bill includes instructions for each state to improve mental health care. Mental health care has not received much recognition in the United States, in both funds and overall acknowledgment. Most people agree that mental health care is neglected in the U.S. and are hopeful that the passage of this bill will affect care positively in the years to come.

The bill’s passage was thrilling for most in the medical world, especially those who are accustomed to seeing bills stalled by “government red tape” and disagreements within Congress. Many believe that its quick approval shows that lawmakers are beginning to band together–despite their bipartisan differences–to fight for better healthcare in this country.

Amidst the rejoicing, however, was some opposition. Some in the medical world are concerned that Big Pharma may unduly benefit from the 21st Century Cures Act. The bill takes money away from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was dedicated to preventing America’s biggest health threats, such as heart disease and cancer. By cutting funding from this initiative, some fear that the bill’s passing may lead to less FDA oversight and compromises in patient care.

Overall, it’s a giant step for mental health, innovative diagnosing methods, reduction in opioid consumption and advanced medical technologies.

If you have any questions about the bill or its implications, feel free to contact our office.

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