21st Century CURES Act

Earlier this week, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act, a sprawling piece of legislation that provides increased funding for medical research, overhauls federal mental health care policy, and speeds up the development and approval of experimental drug treatments.

Overall, the Cures Act provides $6.3 billion to various programs and federal agencies over ten years; however, it should be noted almost all of the funding provided in the Act is subject to the annual federal budget appropriations process.  Furthermore, the Act cuts $3.5 billion (roughly 30%) over ten years from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) to offset the costs of the Act’s provisions.

Notable provisions do the following:

  • Authorizes $1 billion, over two years, for state grants to supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment activities.
  • Provides $4.8 billion, over ten years, to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for various medical research initiatives, including the Administration’s Cancer Moonshot initiative.
  • Shortens the FDA approval process for the development of new drugs and medical devices.
  • Reauthorizes the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) that supports local efforts to decrease mental illness in jails.
  • Reauthorizes the Community Mental Health Services (CMHS) and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) block grants, which allow counties to deliver direct behavioral health services to those with mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders.
  • Institutes several requirements on the CDC regarding antimicrobial resistance monitoring and education.
  • Requires HHS to take various actions regarding the development of medical countermeasure innovations, including the development of promising technologies that address unmet public health needs.
  • Requires the HHS Secretary to issue a report on ways to promote innovation in the development of vaccines that minimize the burden of infectious disease

If you’re interested in more information, the House has issued brief summary and Kaiser Health News issued a report describing most sections of the bill.