There are a number of current federal initiatives focused on funding and promoting research, one of which is the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives dedicated to accelerating the discovery, development and delivery of new cures and treatments. 

In mid-May, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts (PA-16), unanimously approved the Cures Act. Then on May 21, the full Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill with a 51-0 vote. 

The 21st Century Cures Act aims to improve the robustness of the American biomedical industry, emphasizes personalized medicine and research collaboration and would inject $2 billion per year for 10 years into an “Innovation Fund,” which would provide research dollars to younger scientists.

Relevant to CHOP, the bill includes provisions to support collaboration through a National Pediatric Research Network and NIH pediatric research.  The bill, with 171 bipartisan cosponsors, is expected to be voted on by the entire House in July.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office just released a cost estimate for the legislation at a very high $106.4 billion over five years, though this estimate includes the entire NIH budget through 2019, so it is deceptive.

Staffers are still sorting out the true total net cost of the Act. Even if the 21st Century Cures Act is approved by the full U.S. House, progress on the bill might be slow afterwards as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee doesn’t plan to have a companion bill ready until early next year.