One of the things that congressional Republicans are patting themselves on the back about is the passage of the 21st Century Cures act, a $6.3 billion bill designed to do a number of things to enhance the health of Americans. The bill contains more funding for medical research and development. Including Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, measures to expedite the approval of new drugs and medical devices by the FDA, mental health reform, and money to fight the opioid epidemic.

The bill was passed on a bi-partisan basis, and President Obama is expected to sign it into law.

The passage of the 21st Century Cures Act represented broad political cooperation. Diseases such as cancer strike down liberal and conservative alike. Discovering cures for diseases and making them available in a clinical setting is considered good public policy. The quicker and cheaper that patients can be healed of sicknesses, the less burdensome health care costs will be.

The only sour note took place earlier in the debate when Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., ripped the 21st Century Cures Act, claiming that it was a giveaway to “big pharma.” Warren was sharply criticized by health groups in her state for attempting to stand in the way of cures for diseases to make a point of her opposition to drug companies. She was particularly irked by the provisions to remove red tape and bureaucratic impediments to the approval of medicines and medical devices.

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She cited one provision that would speed up research for stem cell therapies that she claimed would benefit a significant campaign donor of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Congress is not done with health care. In 2017, it will set about dismantling the so-called Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and replacing it will a more market-oriented health care system. The ACA has become widely recognized as dysfunctional and costly.

The act was rammed through during President Obama’s first term with deceptive tactics and has since proven hard to implement and impossible to maintain. However, the task of reforming health care reform is not likely to be as smooth or bi-partisan as the 21st Century Cures Act.

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