21st Century Cures Act Passes Congress              

The most far-reaching health care bill since the passage of the ACA is on its way to the President’s desk to become law. The bi-partisan 21st Century Cures Act passed the House and Senate despite some concerns on its funding. The bill would aid in speeding new medicines to market, authorizes $4.8 billion in medical research, and provides funding for several mental health programs. Also included in the bill is language to help patients access rural ACOs.  Specifically, the bill requires the basis for assignment to reflect beneficiaries' utilization of not only primary care services provided by ACO physicians, but also those furnished in federally qualified health centers or rural health clinics. This is a provision NAACOS has supported in the past. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell surprised Vice President Joe Biden, who was in the chamber presiding over the Senate vote, by renaming the NIH cancer initiative in the 21st Century Cures Act after Vice President Biden’s late son, Beau, who lost his battle with cancer last year.