• House Leaders Introduce Major Plan to Increase Health Research, Telehealth


    Two U.S. House representatives have introduced major health care innovation legislation that would make significant investments to medical research and reduce barriers to telehealth access for patients in rural areas.

    The Academy supports these and other key provisions in the bill, the Cures 2.0 Act (HR 6000), that builds on the Academy-supported 2016 21st Century Cures law that Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Fred Upton, R-Mich., previously spearheaded.

    As with the 2016 law, Cures 2.0 seeks to increase funding for medical research. It also would create a new federal agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), to focus on cures for major diseases like diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease — a major Biden administration priority. ARPA-H follows the model of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which was launched in 1958 to make investments in breakthrough technologies for national security. 

    The bill includes provisions that enable clinician-led clinical data registries to have meaningful access to data from the Medicare, Medicaid and the state Children’s Health Insurance Programs. It increases the use of real-world evidence and supports the use of data from clinical care data repositories and patient registries to fulfill post-approval study requirements for products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

     

    Cures 2.0 also addresses barriers that have limited use of telehealth. It would eliminate geographic and originating site restrictions that limit use of telehealth to rural patients, a key Academy priority.

     

    Cures 2.0 also would provide $25 billion for independent research institutions, public laboratories and universities affected by COVID-19 shutdowns. This provision incorporates the Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act, which the Academy endorsed earlier this year.

    [Link to https://www.aao.org/eye-on-advocacy-article/we-endorse-rise-act-providing-funding-research-aff]

     

    The 2016 Cures Act made significant investments in medical research, including substantial boosts to research funding at the National Institutes of Health. It also revised the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval process to speed delivery of innovative treatments, as well as promoted advancements in interoperability across electronic health record systems.

     

    The Academy and the vision research community have been advocating for continued vision research funding. Earlier this year, a representative of the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, in which the Academy is a founding member, testified before the House Committee on Appropriations, Labor, Health and Human Services and its Education Subcommittee about the need for critical vision research funding.