Loebsack Provisions Pass in 21st Century Cures Act

Written by Theresa Rose on July 10, 2015

Loebsack Praises Bipartisan Victory that will Invest in Medical Innovation

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives today approved H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, by a vote of 344-77. Congressman Loebsack, as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was instrumental in the shaping of this bipartisan package. The 21st Century Cures Act is designed to encourage biomedical innovation and the development of new treatments and cures.

The bill provides for $8.75 billion in mandatory funding for NIH over the next five years, which is the most significant investment in biomedical research in over a decade. It also promotes the maintenance of the best biomedical workforce in the world and supports young researchers through increased student loan repayment programs. The 21st Century Cures Act also modernizes clinical trials, encourages the development of next generation treatments and makes improvements to how FDA approves new drugs and devices.

Included in the legislation was Loebsack’s provision to expand and extend the Medicare Prior Authorization Program for power mobility devices. This demonstration program is already operating in 19 states and has demonstrated significant savings for the Medicare program while providing certainty to beneficiaries.

Congressman Loebsack delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of this groundbreaking achievement:

“This legislation is proof that we can accomplish great things when we put aside partisanship and unite around a common goal. To that end I want to thank all the wonderful colleagues here today who worked on this for so long. I am new to the Committee and coming into this and being able to be a part of this is really a great honor for me.

“I want to thank the Chair and Ranking Member also for my provision to extend and expand the Prior Authorization Program for prior mobility devices in this bill, providing certainty to Medicare beneficiaries that these critical devices will in fact covered.

“I am also excited about the NIH Innovation fund, which entails mandatory funding and will support scientists like those working at the University of Iowa. As a result, we will have more groundbreaking advances like the University of Iowa researchers’ discovery of a biomarker that could lead to early detection for the risk of preeclampsia in pregnant women, a discovery that could save countless lives. While I am disappointed that the NIH funding was cut from $10 to $8.75 billion, I am hopeful that we can restore this as the process moves forward.

“And finally, I am really happy that we have finally gotten to a point in this body where we can think long term. Not just about the costs for this program for this year or even for the next five years, but we can also think about all the savings that this will entail down the road. I thank my colleagues for their work on this issue. I am really pleased to be a part of the process.”