The 21st Century Cures Act Passes Senate

Dec. 7, 2016 – The Senate approved complex health care legislation on Wednesday that would increase funding for disease research, address weaknesses in the nation’s mental health systems and vastly alter the regulatory system for drugs and medical devices. The vote sealed a final legislative victory for President Obama, who strongly supported the bill against objections from many liberal Democrats and consumer groups.

In many ways the bill, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, is a return to a more classic approach to legislation, with policy victories and some disappointments for both parties, and potential benefits for nearly every American whose life has been touched by illness, drug addiction and mental health issues. Years in the making, the measure passed 94 to 5 after being overwhelmingly approved by the House last week. (Read more)

Dr. Maria A. Oquendo, congresspresident of the American Psychiatric Association, praised the mental health provisions in the Cures Act, and said it will greatly benefit patients. The legislation includes money to create suicide-prevention programs and to improve mental health services for children. It also allocated the $1 billion in state grants for the opioid epidemic, and seeks to strengthen laws that require the government and insurers to treat mental illness like other diseases. (Read more)