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Congressman John Duncan

Representing the 2nd District of Tennessee

EUREKA 21st Century Cures

December 1, 2016
Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  CONTACT: Don Walker

November 30, 2016                                                                                    202-225-5435     

WASHINGTON, D.C.  Today, Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. voted in favor of the 21st Century Cures Act, which passed the House by 392 to 26.  After the vote, Congressman Duncan stated, “I am very pleased by today’s passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes the Eureka Prize Competitions.”  The 21st Century Cures Act directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use its authority to establish Eureka prize competitions for advances in biomedical science and improved outcomes in treatments for some of our most serious illnesses.

“Congressman Cohen and I championed this Competition Program in our bipartisan EUREKA Act, H.R. 5073.  I am eager to see what breakthrough treatments and drugs will come from the Eureka Competitions to combat Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other challenging diseases affecting my constituents and millions across the Nation,” said Duncan.

The 21st Century Cures Act also addresses a number of other needs in East Tennessee.  For example, the Medicare provisions in this legislation do not privatize Medicare or reduce patient benefits but should help hospitals in the District, including Blount Memorial, Claiborne County, and Jellico Community Hospitals. 

In addition, the Cures Act protects Medicare patients’ access to oxygen and critical equipment by granting much needed relief to durable medical equipment providers in the District who have been providing their services at a loss, due to the unreasonable cuts in Medicare reimbursements imposed on these small businesses.  The Cures Act also gives similar relief to those in the District who provide wheelchairs and other complex rehab technology equipment that is essential to many constituents. 

About these Medicare provisions, Congressman Duncan said, “Having supported and voted for related legislation, I look forward to continuing to work with my Colleagues on trying to find a permanent fix to these situations.” 

Congressman Duncan has always been a strong advocate for the NIH and medical research.  The 21st Century Cures Act authorizes $4.8 billion in additional funds to the NIH, which will help fund the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, BRAIN Initiative, and other essential research.

The FDA’s mission and work is essential to the safety and quality of food and drugs, but the approval process required by the FDA is much too long and expensive, helping to generate the high drug costs we are facing today.  The 21st Century Cures Act addresses this by including $500 million over 10 years for the FDA to maintain safety and quality standards while getting drugs and medical devices to patients faster.

“In addition, as a cosponsor of the landmark Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, I was pleased that the 21st Century Cures Act included many of the same provisions of that bill,” commented Duncan.

The 21st Century Cures Act also contains $1 billion and much needed resources for combatting the opioid addiction crisis, felt severely in the 2nd District and surrounding regions.

Congressman Duncan added, “I want to thank my colleague and friend Senator Lamar Alexander for his hard work in shepherding the 21st Century Cures Act through the House and Senate, and I look forward to seeing the lifesaving effects of this essential legislation.”