Tom Reed seldom explains his views on specific legislation; H.R 6, “21st Century Cures Act,” is an exception. Reed writes:
Tom Reed fought for patients by supporting the bi-partisan 21st Century CURES Act. “This is a patient-centered bill designed to enhance the abilities of the medical community to fight diseases, and get those who are ill the best possible care,” said Reed. “America has led the way in medical innovation for decades, and it’s time to ensure that our medical researchers have access to resources to develop cures for Alzheimer’s, cancers and other diseases that have so often plagued our loved ones.”
Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) also favors H.R. 6. He writes:
This legislation establishes the NIH and Cures Innovation Fund which will provide close to $9 billion in additional funding over 5 years so the NIH can expand the scope of its research. Funds can be used to support early stage experimentation as well as areas that have previously lacked sufficient research dollars such as precision medicine and biomarkers. Additional funding not only spurs important discoveries, it also stimulates the economy by creating jobs. This is of particular importance in Massachusetts where so much biomedical and scientific research is taking place in our hospitals and universities. H.R. 6 gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enhanced tools to review and test drugs. This could help make newly approved treatments more quickly available to patients. Like all legislation, H.R. 6 is not perfect but I believe its potential benefits outweigh any concerns I have. There will be an opportunity in the Senate to improve H.R. 6 and I am hopeful the final result will be a law that infuses much needed funding into important areas of medical research.
The administration also is supportive of some provisions of H.R. 6:
In particular, the Administration appreciates the legislation’s support for the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which would advance a new model of , participant-centered research to accelerate biomedical discoveries and provide clinicians with new tools and therapies tailored to individual patients’ needs. This will also require enabling patients to access their data and accelerating interoperability between electronic health records. The Administration also believes we can build on our progress in improving the drug development and approval process by incorporating patients’ voices into the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decisionmaking; encouraging the development and qualification of reliable biomarkers to accelerate work on important new therapies; and reducing barriers to initiating medical device trials. H.R. 6 takes meaningful steps on each of these important issues and includes provisions to pay for the new funding included in the bill.
Like Rep. Capuano, the Obama Administration hopes the bill will be improved by the Senate. One concern is the provision to sell oil from the National Strategic Reserve.
H.R. 6 also proposes to sell oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a source of funding. The Administration reiterates the critical importance of making the investments necessary to modernize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and ensure it continues to support U.S. energy security. The Administration remains concerned about extending drug exclusivity beyond current law and how this provision will affect drug costs. The Administration is also concerned that this bill would make funding subject to problematic ideological riders included in appropriations bills. The Administration believes funding should be free of such riders. The Administration also believes that H.R. 6 could undermine regulatory standards by allowing unproven uses of therapies to be marketed to health care payors as though such uses had been proven safe and effective.
It is hard to see what selling ten percent of the strategic reserve has to do with health care. Rep. Reed says he favors clean bills, but fails to object to this provision.
The cost-effective legislation will not only enhance resources for the medical community, but will actually save taxpayers roughly $500 million by focusing on reducing fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicare program.
This “saving” isn’t mentioned in the CBO summary.