An Update on 21st Century Cures Legislation
Guest Post By: Jennifer F. Walsh , Director of Public Affairs, Foley & Lardner, LLP
Last week the Personalized Medicine Coalition held its 11th Annual State of Personalized Medicine luncheon in Washington, D.C. U.S. Representative Michael Burgess, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (Committee) which oversees many health care issues, was the featured speaker, substituting for Representative Fred Upton, Chairman of the Committee, who was in the midst of a congressional hearing on the 21st Century Cures legislation. Representative Burgess described his commitment to furthering personalized medicine, in part through the Committee’s development of the 21st Century Cures legislation. He also shared his personal experiences as a consumer of our health care system and as a practicing physician prior to being elected to Congress. The legislation, which is currently being marked up before the full committee this week, has been described by Chairman Upton’s staff as his first, second and third priorities. Over the past several months significant progress has been made on developing a more bipartisan bill than what was originally unveiled at the beginning of the year. However, the bill has experienced several delays this week as lawmakers have wrestled with how to offset the cost of the legislation and whether to include provisions related to the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Meanwhile, the Senate has held a series of hearings related to issues that will likely be included in a measure similar to the House’s 21st Century Cures legislation. Congressional desire to advance a bill that furthers research and funding into the development of personalized medicine and other health care advancements is significant, and may serve as the most significant health care legislation developed by Congress since the Affordable Care Act. Stakeholders interested in this legislation should be actively communicating with Members of Congress, particularly in the Senate, as development of that chamber’s legislation evolves. As with any piece of congressional legislation that gains momentum, the possibilities of what issues could be added to the legislation – controversial or benign – are endless.