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Public Statements

Health Care Reform and Regenerative Medicine

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, voters all across the country have rejected the ``government knows best'' philosophy that prevailed during last year's health care debate. In contrast, my Republican colleagues and I believe that American innovation and reduced government intervention are keys to successful health reform that reduces health care costs. After all, reducing the costs of health care should be the primary focus of any health care reform bill. Unfortunately, the highly flawed health care bill that passed last year does not bring down the cost of health care. It drives costs up. If we are ever going to fix health care, we must focus on reducing costs.

For instance, it's estimated that 1 percent of the most seriously ill in America account for more than 25 percent of all health care expenditures. What if we could improve the care of these patients and at the same time reduce costs? We can. We can by harnessing the power of innovation and health research in groundbreaking fields like regenerative medicine.

Regenerative medicine is a highly specialized field that focuses on developing technologies to replace or regenerate organs and tissues using the patient's own cells. These treatments would reduce the cost of chronic diseases by up to $275 billion a year and would dramatically improve the lives of older Americans suffering from terrible, chronic illnesses.

The cost of chronic disease is only going to increase if we don't focus on innovations like regenerative medicine that can revolutionize how we treat illnesses. These costs are going to spiral ever higher mainly because we are in the midst of a major aging of our population. Demographers estimate that in the next 20 years, people in the age range of 65 to 74 years old will increase from 6 percent of the population to about 10 percent of the population, almost doubling. At the same time, people over the age of 75 will increase from 6 percent to 9 percent of the total population. This demographic shift will inexorably drive up the costs of health care as more elderly receive treatment for chronic diseases like late-stage Parkinson's disease, kidney failure, heart failure, or diabetes.

Regenerative medicine has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of all these diseases. But that may not happen. Why not? It's simple. The same kinds of bureaucracy, regulations, and red tape that are stuffed into every corner of the ObamaCare law are holding back the widespread adoption of major medical breakthroughs in this field.

Consider the fact that Dr. Anthony Atala at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University has been able successfully to grow bladders for bladder replacement surgeries from the recipient's own cells.

Yet despite several successful bladder transplants, the FDA insists that the institute go through additional costly clinical trials on animals and spend millions of dollars on testing that is clearly unnecessary based on his success with the human transplant surgeries.

This sort of Federal regulatory burden is stifling innovation in America, and the government takeover of health care backed by the Democrats last year imposes still more job and innovation-destroying regulations on health research.

Regenerative medicine has the potential to improve the health of our citizens and return them healthy and whole to the workforce. It holds the promise of hundreds of billions of savings in health care costs and, unlike ObamaCare, will create jobs focused on developing these technologies across the Nation. Congress would be wise to strip away the bureaucracy and red tape that is stifling innovation in fields like regenerative medicine that could lower costs and improve the lives of all Americans.

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