Facing Future

Thinking about the future in a bigger way. That idea is at the very heart of our goal to make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation! Thinking small won’t get it done.

We love finding other programs, projects, and organizations with equally lofty goals, particularly around health and health care. Earlier this week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved seven bills that aim to bolster medical innovation. 

According to thehill.com, Senate health committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), “argued that passing this series of noncontroversial bills could help build momentum for a larger package that would be a companion to the House-passed 21st Century Cures Act, which seeks to speed up the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of new drugs and includes $8.75 billion over five years in new research funds for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).”

In brief, the biomedical innovation bills are designed to:

  • speed therapies for patients with rare diseases;
  • ease the medical device review process;
  • fund young scientists;
  • update rehabilitation research;
  • advance research for neurological diseases;
  • prevent drug-resistant superbugs; and
  • update electronic health record-keeping.

These smaller biomed bills grew out of the committee’s inability to agree on a larger, bipartisan package to complement the 21st Century Cures Act. From StatNews.com:

“(Senator Lamar) Alexander said he hoped that by taking a step-by-step approach to vote on smaller medical innovation bills, for which there was bipartisan support, the committee could make progress, and work up to the more controversial issues. Ultimately, he said, the full Senate could then vote on a package to go to conference with the House.”

For the record – the votes for all seven measures were unanimous. Still, some congressional leaders do not believe the “small-steps” approach will get the job done. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is quoted as saying, “A handful of smaller targeted changes like we’re voting on today won’t get us where we need to be.”

While we tend to agree that big change can be far more powerful than incremental change – we also appreciate how the growing conversation around medical innovation is gaining momentum and believe that could lead to many “big changes” moving forward.

You’ve heard from us, now we want to hear from you. What do you think?

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