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Higgins Announces Approval of Healthcare Innovation Package

Dec 1, 2016
Press Release
Cancer & Alzheimer’s Research, Opioid Epidemic Among Priorities Addressed in Legislation Approved by the House

Medical research, innovation and advanced treatments for many of today’s most challenging health issues received a giant boost with approval of a package of legislation included in the 21st Century Cures Act, passed by Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and fellow members of the House of Representatives this week. 

“For those touched by disease or addiction, access to better treatments can’t come soon enough,” said Congressman Higgins.  “This legislation provides necessary tools to speed the pace of science, encourage breakthroughs, and advance innovative therapies delivering invaluable life changing and lifesaving opportunities.”

Higgins spoke in favor of the bill on the House Floor:

(To access video click above or go to:

Highlights of the package include:

  • $1.8 billion to expedite research through the “Cancer Moonshot” initiative
  • $1 billion in support of state-led initiatives to address the opioid epidemic
  • $1.6 billion for the BRAIN initiative, advancing our understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • FDA reforms that help bring new drugs and devices to the public more quickly
  • Innovation competitions to incentivize biomedical advancements
  • Establishing the Precision Medicine Initiative to aid research aimed at individual, rather than one-size-fits-all, treatments
  • Incentivizing the development of drugs for rare pediatric diseases
  • Mental health care reforms including expanded coverage for low-income children with mental illness
  • The speeding up of electronic health records interoperability

Earlier this month Higgins and others wrote to Congressional leadership pushing for additional federal funding to combat the opioid addiction and overdose crisis.  Higgins also advocated for the legislation to include a change in a proposed reimbursement policy that would have resulted in a loss of critical funding for Roswell Park Cancer Institute

While this legislation makes substantial and necessary strides in innovation, Higgins would like to see Congress do more in the coming months to further prioritize biomedical research, improve healthcare affordability and address the rising price of prescription drugs. 

Congressman Higgins has been an advocate for increased resources to combat the opioid epidemic and support scientific research.   Higgins introduced the TREAT Act, which expands access to medication-assisted treatment for those addicted to opioids and with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro introduced the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act, which boosts funding to the National Institutes of Health.   Higgins is a member of the House of Representatives Cancer Caucus, the Congressional Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic and co-founder and co-chair of the National Institutes of Health Caucus.