Congressional bill seeks to facilitate development of cures
Published 7:50 am Friday, July 10, 2015
Healthcare and the nation’s financial stability continue to be hot topics in Washington, D.C.
One major piece of legislation making it’s way through congressional committees is the 21st Century Cures Act, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, said during a teleconference Thursday.
The act is a piece of bipartisan legislation that seeks to encourage medical research, Roe said, adding that in recent years, the development of new medicines and treatments has been hampered by government regulations.
“More drugs were being brought to market 20 years ago than are being brought to market now, and that’s not good,” Roe said.
In many cases, Roe added, research for new medicines, procedures and devices is moving overseas due to the excessive restrictions in place in the United States.
The Act, if approved, would establish The Council for 21st Century Cures “to accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of innovative cures, treatments and preventive measures,” according to the legislation.
“There are none of us that have been in medicine for any length of time who don’t like it,” Roe said of the proposed act, adding that many long-time health professionals are disappointed in the amount of progress being made. “We thought we would have cured cancer by now, but we haven’t.”
A shift is also needed in the healthcare mind set, Roe said, adding that healthcare needed to shift toward cures and prevention rather than waiting for someone to get sick and then treating them.
The legislation has overwhelming support in the house, where 230 of the body’s 435 members have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. Among those sponsoring the legislation are 109 Republicans and 121 Democrats.
From Tennessee, Roe is joined by Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-4), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) and Rep. Steve Cohen (R-TN-9) as in co-sponsoring the bill.
Congress is also keeping a watchful eye on the financial situation in Greece right now, Roe said.
That nation’s economy is experiencing significant turmoil due to overspending and too high of a debt level, Roe said, adding it should serve as a warning for the United States.
“We’ve got to figure out how to spend money more wisely,” Roe said. “We need to get serious about getting this debt under control and work on reducing that debt.”
While the United States is coming out of a recession, Roe said it is up to leaders to build a better financial future.
“I’ve been through five recessions now in my lifetime. It has happened before and it will happen again,” he said. “We have to be more financially stable.”
The Congressman also touched on a topic that is sparking much controversy around the nation – the display of the Confederate Flag. Earlier this week, the House took an unrecorded voice vote on displaying the flag on government buildings and allowing the flag to be flown on graves of Confederate veterans.
In light of the tragic church shooting in Charleston, S.C., Roe said he could see the reasoning behind removing the flag from government buildings but he feels the efforts to remove the flag all together are not right.
“Refusing to allow the families of a Confederate soldier to fly a flag on the grave just goes to far,” Roe said, adding that he himself has ancestors on who fought on both sides of the Civil War.
“People’s First Amendment Rights must be protected,” Roe said, adding people have a right to be proud of their heritage.