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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

February 2004


Laws
  • Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (P. L. 108-173)
  • Pediatric Research Equity Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-155)
Bills
  • Health Information for Quality Improvement Act
  • Hepatitis C Epidemic Control and Prevention Act
  • Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity (IMPACT) Act
  • National Bone Marrow Donor Registry Reauthorization Act
  • National Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank Network
  • Organ Donation and Recovery Improvement Act
  • Prevention, Awareness, and Research Auto-Immune Disease Act
  • Protection for Participants in Research Act of 2003
  • Stroke Treatment and Ongoing Prevention Act


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Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (P. L. 108-173)

On December 8, President Bush signed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 into law. Formerly known as H.R. 1, the Act establishes a voluntary prescription drug benefit under the Medicare program and requires Medicare to cover a "preventive physical examination" for beneficiaries. Screening for some cancers, glaucoma, and cholesterol levels will be covered. Under the Act's new health care quality demonstration program, the NIH is required to expand support for the evaluation of medical technologies to improve the foundation for evidence-based practice.

Pediatric Research Equity Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-155)

President Bush signed S. 650, the Pediatric Research Equity Act of 2003, into law on December 3. It authorizes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require research into pediatric uses for new drugs and biological products. A related law enacted in 2002, the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (P.L. 107-109), encourages pediatric testing of already approved drugs.

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Bills

Health Information for Quality Improvement Act

Number: S. 2003
Sponsor: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)
Latest action: Referred to the Senate Finance Committee on December 9.
Highlights: Would require:

  • the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to establish an Office of National Healthcare Information Infrastructure.
  • the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the NIH to support research on information technology applications to improve medical care.
  • health insurance plans to cover some expenses incurred by beneficiaries who participate in clinical trials.

Hepatitis C Epidemic Control and Prevention Act

Number: H.R. 3539
Sponsor: Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM)
Latest action: Referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on November 19.
Highlights: Would require:

  • the Secretary of the DHHS, in consultation with the Directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the NIH, to develop a plan to prevent, control, and manage hepatitis C infection.
  • the NIH Director to create a Liver Disease Research Advisory Board.

Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity (IMPACT) Act

Number: S. 1172
Sponsor: Senator Bill Frist (R-TN)
Latest action: Referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on January 20 after passage by the Senate.
Highlights: Would required the Secretary of the DHHS, through the CDC, AHRQ, Indian Health Service, NIH, and Office of Women's Health, to coordinate with the Departments of Agriculture, Education, and Interior to award grants for services to improve nutrition, increase physical activity, and prevent obesity.

In early 2003, Representative Mary Bono (R-CA) introduced H.R. 716, a slightly different measure also called the IMPACT Act. It was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

National Bone Marrow Donor Registry Reauthorization Act

Number: H.R. 3034
Sponsor: Representative Bill Young (R-FL)
Latest action: Referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on October 2 after passage by the House.
Highlights: Would require the bone marrow scientific registry to make relevant summaries and data sets of scientific information available to the public.

National Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank Network

Number: S. 1717
Sponsor: Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT)
Latest action: Referred to Senate HELP Committee on October 3.
Highlights: Would establish a network responsible for preparing, storing, and distributing human umbilical cord blood stem cells for patients needing transplants and supporting peer-reviewed research using such cells.

Organ Donation and Recovery Improvement Act

Number: S. 573
Sponsor: Senator Bill Frist (R-TN)
Latest action: Received in the House on December 8 after passage by the Senate.
Highlights: Would establish several new initiatives related to organ donation, including activities to:

  • encourage organ donation.
  • reimburse living donors for expenses related to organ donation.
  • establish a registry to monitor the long-term health of living donors.

The House passed similar legislation (H.R. 399, the Organ Donation Improvement Act of 2003) in March.

Prevention, Awareness, and Research Auto-Immune Disease Act

Number: H.R. 3359
Sponsor: Representative Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI)
Latest action: Referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on November 21.
Highlights: Would require the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to establish:

  • grants to educate health care providers on potential links between autoimmune diseases and depression.
  • a loan repayment program for researchers who study autoimmune diseases.

Protection for Participants in Research Act of 2003

Number: H.R. 3594
Sponsor: Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Latest action: Referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on November 21.
Highlights: Would expand the coverage of current regulations related to Institutional Review Boards.

Stroke Treatment and Ongoing Prevention Act

Number: H.R. 3658 and S. 1909
Sponsor: Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) and Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Latest action: H.R. 3658 was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on December 8.
S. 1909 was referred to the Senate HELP Committee on November 20.
Highlights: H.R. 3658 would amend the Public Health Service Act to strengthen education, prevention, and treatment programs related to stroke.
S. 1909 would:

  • enhance programs to prevent stroke and to treat and rehabilitate people who experience a stroke.
  • authorize the Secretary of the DHHS to conduct studies on a variety of topics including patient access to currently approved and newly developed stroke prevention and treatment services and the effect of existing stroke-related public awareness campaigns.

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Content last modified: 1/29/04
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[Legislative Update (May 2004)]
[Legislative Update (September 2003)]
NHLBI Express






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