Following Longtime Advocacy from Senator Collins, Sweeping Bipartisan Bill to Provide $6.3 Billion to Help Every American Family
Legislation Will Help Fight Against Opioid Abuse Through $1 Billion in State Grants; Spur Innovative Treatments and Cures for Alzheimer’s, Cancer, and Many Other Diseases; and Improve Mental Health Programs
Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Senate today passed the 21st Century Cures Act, legislation that was championed by U.S. Senator Susan Collins and will benefit every American by spurring the advancement of biomedical research, combating the opioid abuse epidemic, and improving our mental health system. Senator Collins, the Chairman of the Aging Committee and a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, authored or co-authored five provisions contained within the legislation, which passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 94-5. The legislation cleared the House in a similarly overwhelming bipartisan vote of 392-26 earlier this week. The legislation will now go to the President's desk for his signature. On Monday, Senator Collins spoke on the Senate floor urging her colleagues to pass this important bill to promote medical innovation.
“All of us know someone who courageously faces the struggles of living with a debilitating chronic illness or rare disease, or who received a devastating diagnosis and was gone too soon. Through the strong support of research and development, the 21st Century Cures Act will help us achieve our dream of conquering disease,” said Senator Collins. “The 21st Century Cures Act will also make the most significant reforms to our mental health system in more than a decade and help direct $1 billion in much-needed funding to address the heroin and opioid epidemic in this country, which has hit Maine communities particularly hard. As a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, I am proud to have pushed for and contributed to this landmark bill, which will make a tremendous difference in the life of every American.”
“The 21st Century Cures Act is an important step forward for life-saving biomedical research. The Jackson Laboratory is leading the search for tomorrow’s cures and we are so grateful to Senator Collins for her leadership and advocacy in passing this act,” said Ed Liu, M.D., President and CEO, The Jackson Laboratory.
Advancing Biomedical Research
The 21st Century Cures Act provides $4.8 billion over ten years for the National Institutes of Health. That funding includes $1.6 billion for the BRAIN Initiative to improve our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s, our nation’s costliest disease. Additionally, it will help allocate $1.8 billion for the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot, $1.5 billion for the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative, and $30 million for regenerative medicine using adult stem cells. The bill’s cancer provisions are named after Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden, who died from cancer last year.
The 21st Century Cures Act also incorporates several notable bipartisan provisions introduced by Senator Collins to encourage medical innovation, including:
- The Collins-Warren Advancing NIH Strategic Planning and Representation in Medical Research Act, which will help ensure that study populations in clinical research are more representative of the diverse population that might benefit from that research;
- The Baldwin-Collins Next Generation Researchers Act, which will encourage young people to become researchers by helping to address the education debt burden many face; and
- Senator Collins’ provisions to encourage the use of Health Information Exchanges to promote patient access to health information.
Improving the Mental Health System
The 21st Century Cures Act also strengthens and improves important mental health programs for the first time in more than a decade. One in five Americans—nearly 44 million people—experience some type of mental illness each year. The reforms in the bill will enhance coordination, address a lack of resources, and develop real solutions to improve outcomes for individuals with serious mental illness and their families.
Notable mental health provisions introduced by Senator Collins include:
- The Durbin-Collins Mental Health Reform Act, which will support college and university efforts to directly provide mental health services; increase awareness and training to respond effectively to students with mental health and substance use disorders; and establish an interagency working group to promote federal agency collaboration to support innovations in mental health services for students on college and university campuses; and
- Language requiring the Government Accountability Office to study the Protection and Advocacy programs.
Fighting Opioid Abuse Epidemic
The 21st Century Cures Act also includes $1 billion over two years for grants to states to supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment activities, including prescription drug monitoring programs, prevention activities, training for health care providers, and improving access to opioid treatment programs. This money will benefit every state, including Maine, which has tragically experienced a record number of overdose deaths.