During Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama celebrated the success of the Affordable Care Act, and also called for a "new era of medicine" marked by individualized care and better, more effective drugs.
#SOTU - Healthcare: While the Children's Cause joins with the president in celebrating that "more of our people are insured than ever before," we also recognize the challenges that remain in the complex new healthcare system. We continue to advocate for comprehensive, quality care for the nation's growing population of childhood cancer survivors, and we are diligently monitoring legislative threats to the Affordable Care Act in this new Congress.
#SOTU - Precision Medicine Initiative: President Obama announced during his address a new initiative designed to "bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes - and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier." Precision - or personalized - medicine refers to using a patient's own genomic information to predict, prevent, and treat diseases with improved accuracy and outcomes. By selecting therapies to target cancer's molecular errors, doctors hope to more safely and effectively deliver the right dose of the right medicine to the right tumor. Details about this Initiative are expected to be included in the president's fiscal year 2016 budget proposal in early February.
Related policy news:
- The 21st Century Cures Initiative of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to produce draft legislation in the next few days that will tackle the challenges involved in the research and regulation necessary to develop, test, and obtain approval for new drugs. The 21st Century Cures Initiative has been a bipartisan and inclusive effort with white papers, hearings and roundtables spanning the past year.
Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) spent the past several days calling the leaders of HHS, FDA, and NIH to thank them for their involvement in the process and is now calling on President Obama to join in the committee's efforts: "I hope that President Obama will consider joining our effort to...help bridge the gap between the incredible advances made in science and how we in Washington actually regulate those therapies. There is no issue more important to families across the country."
- The Kaiser Family Foundation just released their annual 50-state report on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This year's study is significant because January 1st marked the first anniversary of many key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including Medicaid expansion to low-income adults (implemented in 28 states) and new rules governing CHIP. States are continuing to improve children's access to coverage, with ACA provisions in place through 2019 that prohibit states from applying any restrictions in eligibility or enrollment for children.
The study found that all but two states now cover children at or above 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) through Medicaid and CHIP, with 19 states providing coverage up to 300% of the FPL. The study also found that 21 states have eliminated their CHIP waiting periods. However, CHIP funding is set to expire in September 2015, which would leave some children without coverage and leave many others with higher premiums. Congressional Medicaid advisers are expected to begin a two-day meeting focused on CHIP today.
We'll be following new developments in all of these issues and more, but we want to hear from you on the policy priorities that matter most to your family. Weigh in by sending us your comments or join the conversation on our Facebook page: [contact-form subject='[The Children%26#039;s Cause Blog'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]