With the new year, the Senate Health Committee is now turning its attention to a medical innovation bill. This innovation bill – called “21st Century Cures” – is the Senate’s form of a measure that has already passed the House on a bipartisan vote in July. The idea behind this is to speed up the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process for new drugs and boost funding for research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The major point of controversy over the bill has been deciding whether the funding increase for the NIH grant will be in the form of what is know as “mandatory spending”. In other words, the grant would be guaranteed over a number of years and would otherwise not be subjected to the annual adoptions process.
“I’m willing to consider [mandatory funding] under some circumstances,” Chairman Lamar Alexander said, if it “replaces other mandatory funding.”
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