December 07, 2016

Manchin Votes for 21st Century CURES Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today voted for the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes funding to fight the opioid epidemic, improves medical research and modernizes mental health services. Although Senator Manchin voted against cloture and has been blocking all live UC action on the Senate floor, he does not object to the legislation itself.

“Today I voted to pass the 21st Century CURES Act because this bill will provide critical resources to address the opioid epidemic, strengthen medical research, and expand access to mental health care,” Senator Manchin said. “I will, however, continue to fight to pass the Miners Protection Act. It’s simply unacceptable that we can come together and pass 21st Century Cures Act but cannot vote on a long term solution for retired miner’s healthcare and pensions. There are 16,300 miners who were notified in October that they would lose their healthcare by December 31. And, if the CR passes with the language as it currently stands, then they we – Congress - are essentially telling them that they will lose their healthcare in April because there are no guarantees after that. That’s inhumane. The proposed 4-month fix leaves these miners worse off, and I will not let Congress adjourn until we do what is right.

“I voted for this legislation because it does many good things that will improve the lives of millions of Americans, but it leaves out some of the most hard working and dedicated people of our country – our retired miners.”

Some of the provisions in the 21st Century CURES Act will:

•                Authorize $1 billion in funding for state grants to address the opioid epidemic over two years

•                Provide $4.8 billion between FY17-FY20 to National Institutes of Health, including: $1.4 billion for President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative to drive research into the genetic, lifestyle and environmental variations of disease; $1.8 billion for Vice President Biden’s "Cancer Moonshot” to speed research; and $1.6 billion for the BRAIN initiative to improve our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer's.

•                Strengthen pediatric and high risk/high reward medical research.

•                Support a “Eureka Prize Competition” to foster research that could realize significant advancements in health outcomes and disease treatments.

•                Modernize and strengthens grants for providing mental health services, promotes evidence-based practices, and strengthens mental health parity provisions to ensure that insurance companies treat mental health problems on par with physical health problems. It also expands Medicaid coverage of mental health services.