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Legislative Update April 2010

April 2010

Health Care Reform

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Becomes Law
On March 23, 2010 the President signed into law The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148).  P.L. 111-148, which makes changes to U.S. health care laws, contains a number of provisions relevant to the NIH and the NHLBI.  For example: 

  • Congenital Heart Disease Research.  The law authorizes the Director of the NHLBI to expand, intensify, and coordinate congenital heart disease research.
  • Access to Clinical Trials.  The law prohibits health insurers from denying an individual access to an approved clinical trial and requires that routine patient costs be covered.  Approved clinical trials are those approved or funded by certain government agencies, including the NIH.
  • Cures Acceleration Network.  The law establishes a Cures Acceleration Network at the NIH to provide funding to bridge the gap between laboratory discoveries and life-saving therapies, including medical products, drugs, devices, or biological products. 
  • Pain Research.  The law amends the Public Health Service Act to encourage the NIH Director to continue and expand, through the NIH Pain Consortium, basic and clinical research on the causes of and potential treatments for pain. 
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER).  The law establishes a non-profit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), a Board of Governors to oversee the institute, and a trust fund to pay for the research.  The PCORI is authorized to set research priorities and a research agenda, conduct or support CER, develop research methodologies and data resources, obtain and use data from the Federal government, and establish advisory panels to advise on research priorities. 
  • Emergency Medicine Research.  The law authorizes the Secretary to expand and accelerate research to improve emergency care systems and the treatment of acute conditions, specifically in the areas of basic science, service delivery to improve outcomes, translation of basic research into improved practice, and timely and efficient delivery of health services. 

Animal Models

Bill Addresses Animal Research
On October 21, 2009, the Pet Safety and Protection Act (H.R.3907 and S.1834) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Michael Doyle and in the Senate by Senator Daniel Akaka.  The legislation would amend the Animal Welfare Act to eliminate Class B dog and cat vendors as suppliers of random source animals for federally-funded research.

Diseases of the Heart, Lungs, Blood, and Blood Vessels

Congressional Resolution Supports the Year of the Lung
On February 26, 2010 Representative John Lewis introduced H. Res. 1122, a resolution supporting the goals and ideals of the Year of the Lung 2010.  On March 3, 2010 Senator Blanche Lincoln introduced the resolution, S. Res. 432, in the Senate.

House Resolution Highlights American Heart Month and National Wear Red Day
On February 23, 2010 the House of Representatives adopted H. Res. 1039, a resolution expressing support for the goals and ideals of American Heart Month, which is observed in February, and National Wear Red Day.  The resolution was introduced by Representative Christopher Lee.

House Resolution Recognizes National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month
On April 15, 2010 Representative Danny Davis introduced H. Con. Res. 262, a resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month.