Upton seeks feedback to update 21st Century Cures Act

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) on Nov. 22 introduced his new bipartisan effort to modernize coverage and access to life-saving cures under current law, the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016.

“We are so proud of what the first effort of 21st Century Cures has been able to achieve in such a short amount of time, but one thing we have heard from listening to folks across the nation is that we need to do more to promote access to these life-saving cures,” said Rep. Upton and U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), who spearheaded the original bipartisan legislation in their chamber. “There are still too many patients without a treatment, and we need to do everything we can to help them now.”

Rep. Upton and his colleague last week released their initial vision for their Cures 2.0 legislation and issued a call-to-action document seeking ideas and other feedback.

“Today, the 21st Century Cures Act is helping to advance medical research and foster a new era of medical innovations that may one day establish new cures for the world’s cruelest diseases,” according to their document. “Despite our success, there is more work to do so we are initiating “Cures 2.0” and asking patients and their families to join us again in a bipartisan effort that will build upon the progress we have made together.”

The Cures 2.0 call to action also seeks comments on digital health; updating how new cures and medical products are covered; determining how to harness data to empower patients; and improving the ability of families and caregivers to support their loved ones, according to the document.

For instance, “one area of significant focus for Cures 2.0 is digital health,” wrote Rep. Upton and his colleague. “We believe that digital health technologies hold the promise of modernizing U.S. healthcare in ways that transform how Americans access medical services.”