Apr 30, 2015

House E&C Committee Takes Important Step for 21st Century Cures

The first four months of the 114th Congress have been incredibly productive. But long before the House is able to pass positive pieces of legislation, it takes creative thinking, diligent listening, and hard work by members and committees. Members of the Republican conference have shown time and again that they are up to the task of bringing our economy and government into the 21st century.

After nearly a full year of research, listening, writing, and rewriting, the Energy and Commerce Committee has hit a new milestone for an important reform and innovation bill in Congress this year.

Yesterday, committee leaders released a discussion draft for 21st Century Cures, a bill that would completely reform how government approaches the discovery, development, and delivery of medical cures. Today, the committee will hold a legislative hearing on that draft.

There are 10,000 known diseases—7,000 of which are rare—but there are treatments for only 500 of them. Diseases do not discriminate, and just about everyone knows somebody who has been stricken with debilitate or deadly illness.

For example, in California’s Central Valley, a rare fungal disease known as Valley Fever has burdened individuals for decades and bedeviled the medical community. The ability to streamline clinical trials is chief among reforms that can help treat and cure Valley Fever. CURES establishes that flexibility.

For months, Chairman Upton (MI-06) has led his committee to listen to everyone involved in the health care process—patients, providers, innovators, researchers, regulators, and more—to make sure government doesn’t get in the way of, but rather enables the discovery, development, and delivery of cures in the best way possible.

As Majority Leader McCarthy wrote in the Milken Institute’s Power of Ideas,

“The House’s 21st Century Cures initiative, spearheaded by the Energy and Commerce Committee, recognizes that Washington can… hold back innovation with opaque and costly bureaucracy. …Potential cures for Alzheimer’s, AIDS and cancer face a gauntlet of research, development, and approval that is made more difficult by burdensome regulatory complexity and outdated government policy. The 21st Century Cures initiative imagines a world where government works with the medical industry to facilitate advances that can resign so many diseases to the history books.

For the sake of so many lives, we need innovative ideas like 21st Century Cures, which continues to move forward in the most bipartisan and thorough way possible.