Swalwell Reintroduces Bipartisan Bill Advancing Personalized Medicine

September 18, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) reintroduced the bipartisan Advancing Access to Precision Medicine Act, which would push forward use of genetic and genomic testing to improve health management and save lives.

“It is time we start looking for 21st century cures with 21st century technology,” said Swalwell. “Genetic and genomic testing technology is improving every day, and this bill provides a bipartisan way forward for making these tests more accessible to all Americans.”

The Advancing Access to Precision Medicine Act would pilot-test whether Medicaid coverage of a variety of types of genetic and genomic sequencing for children can help settle their diagnostic challenges, improve clinical outcomes, and ultimately reduce program expenditures.  It also would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to work with the National Academy of Medicine to study, utilizing the information gained from the Medicaid pilot-testing, how genetic and genomic testing may improve health outcomes and how the federal government may reduce barriers to use of genetic and genomic testing.

Innovation in genomics has presented new opportunities to diagnose and treat genetic disorders like some cancers and many rare diseases, as well as to predict one’s predisposition to a disease. Genetic and genomic tests have the potential to further the emerging field of precision medicine—the customization of healthcare, with medical decisions, treatments, practices or products tailored to the individual patient—and to cut health care costs by allowing better diagnoses and consideration of preventive measures.

Certain barriers, including lack of insurance coverage and inability to see relevant health professionals, often impede access to genetic and genomic testing. America’s opportunity to stay healthy will be limited in the future unless patients have affordable access to such testing.

“Rare disease patients will see 10 specialists and be misdiagnosed 3 times before receiving an accurate diagnosis – this is unacceptable,” said Julia Jenkins, Executive Director for the EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases. “The EveryLife Foundation appreciates Congressman Swalwell’s leadership to help end the diagnostic odyssey for rare disease patients. We appreciate the opportunity to work with Congressman Swalwell to ensure that clinicians and patients have access to the necessary diagnostic tools to ensure a timely and accurate diagnosis. We hope Congress will make the Advancing Access to Precision Medicine Act a priority.”

The bill’s original cosponsors are Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-7), Rep. Harley Rouda (CA-18) and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC).

The bill is supported by EveryLife Foundation and the Personalized Medicine Coalition.

For the full text of the bill, click here.