On Tuesday, December 13, 2016, President Obama signed into law a House-Senate compromise version of the 21st Century Cures Act. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 392-26 and the Senate by a vote of 94-5. The legislation combines policies from the House 21st Century Cures Act passed last summer and a number of individual health IT and innovation bills passed by the Senate HELP Committee this year.
The core of the legislation is focused on “expediting discovery, delivery and development of new cures and treatments” and “maintaining America’s global status as the leader in biomedical innovation.” This extensive legislative package, which provides for additional funding for NIH, FDA and the states, and addressing issues ranging from precision medicine to opioid abuse, includes a significant focus on health IT as the foundation of medical research and care delivery. The summary covers a number of key health IT policies, although health IT is woven throughout the legislation.