Health Care – House Passes Medical Research Bill

Last week the House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34) by a wide margin (392-26). The bill would provide additional funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health, speed up the approval of treatments at the Food and Drug Administration, and help combat opioid abuse, among other provisions. It also incorporates the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act” which makes numerous changes to the mental health system. Additionally, it incorporates the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, which allows non-elderly individuals with disabilities to establish a special needs trust on their own without having to file a petition with a court. However, the bill contains some controversial provisions such as one requiring states to use an electronic visit verification system for Medicaid-provided personal care services and home health services. Furthermore, it takes $3.5 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to help pay for the cost of the bill. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill this week.

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