GOP Lawmakers Enthusiastic About Passing 21st Century Cures Bill In Lame Duck Session
Congressional leaders say the bill, aimed at promoting medical research and developing innovative medical solutions, will be one of their top priorities during the four-week session after the election.
Government Funding and Medical Research to Dominate Lame-Duck Session
Last week, lawmakers raced to find a funding deal to avert a government shutdown, and they’ll be back in a few weeks to do it all over again. ... Spending fights will likely take up much of the time before the 114th Congress wraps up. But the GOP leaders in both chambers also expressed interest in passing a 21st Century Cures Act during the lame-duck. The measure is aimed at promoting medical research and developing innovative medical solutions. The bill “could end up being the most significant piece of legislation we pass in the whole Congress,” [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell said. (Bowman, 10/6)
In other national health care news —
CMS Posts Hospice Payment Data. But How Reliable Is It?
In 2014, Medicare spent more than $15 billion on hospice care for 1.3 million of its beneficiaries. More precise breakdowns of where those dollars went, however, have not always been publicly available. A new data set the CMS released Thursday is likely to change that, even as some raise concerns about the accessibility and reliability of other spending data provided by the agency. The Hospice Utilization and Payment Public Use File contains privacy-protected information on the services of 4,015 hospice providers to Medicare beneficiaries. (Whitman, 10/6)
Beyond Mammograms, Screening Choices Are Far From Clear
Mammography can prevent deaths from breast cancer, but it's not a perfect test. It misses some cancers, especially in women with dense breast tissue, and flags abnormalities for follow-up tests that turn out to be benign, among other issues. So there's a lot of interest in additional tests that might make screening more accurate in women who have dense breasts. (Hobson, 10/7)
Scientists Are Assembling A New Picture Of Humanity
Sixteen years ago, two teams of scientists announced they had assembled the first rough draft of the entire human genome. If you wanted, you could read the whole thing — 3.2 billion units, known as base pairs. Today, hundreds of thousands of people have had their genomes sequenced, and millions more will be completed in the next few years. But as the numbers skyrocket, it’s becoming painfully clear that the original method that scientists used to compare genomes to each other — and to develop a better understanding of how our DNA influences our lives — is rapidly becoming obsolete. (Zimmer, 10/7)