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Sen. Cruz Introduces Legislation to Increase Healthcare Capacity & Access, Speed Up FDA Approval for Certain Vaccines & Cures

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the spread of coronavirus continues to affect more communities across the country, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today introduced legislation focused on increasing access to healthcare and expediting the approval for vaccines and treatments already approved in other countries.

To increase healthcare capacity and access, Sen. Cruz introduced the Creating Capacity for Communities in Need Act with Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) - legislation to allow physician-owned hospitals to expand their facilities, beds, and surgical rooms and provide much needed relief for the medical facilities overwhelmed by the surge in patients as a result of coronavirus - and the Pandemic Healthcare Access Act with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) - legislation to expand access to Health Savings Accounts to anyone with a health plan for the duration of this public health crisis.

To expedite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval process for vaccines and cures that could prevent or treat COVID-19, Sen. Cruz introduced the RESULTs for Coronavirus Patients Act with Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) - legislation to remove the regulatory barriers that often delay the approval of new pharmaceuticals and medical devices for months and allow the FDA 30 days to approve a drug or device already approved in another country.

Upon introducing the legislation, Sen. Cruz said:

"My number one priority has and continues to be doing everything possible to stop this global pandemic. We've taken important steps, but there is much more work to curb the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately defeat it. That's why I introduced bills to create more capacity to treat patients in communities that have been hit the hardest, make it easier for people to access their healthcare, and speed up the approval process for certain drugs and devices that could prevent or treat COVID-19.

"These are important steps Congress can take now to flatten the curve and slow the growth of this pandemic. The sooner we act, the sooner we can protect more Americans from contracting this dangerous virus and the sooner we can save more lives."

Sen. Cruz has also proposed legislation to direct the Department of Health and Human Services to use part of its existing federal budget to establish federally funded or managed field medical stations or mobile testing sites.

These proposals are part of the four-part, all-hands-on-deck approach Sen. Cruz outlined last week to reduce the spread of coronavirus by:

  • Making testing more accurate and widely available.
  • Ensuring we have enough of the essential medical supplies for first responders and health care professionals,
  • Creating more capacity and providing critical resources for hospitals and medical facilities.
  • Work quickly to develop and approve vaccines and cures.

Read Sen. Cruz's op-ed in the Houston Chronicle here.

Read Sen. Cruz's statement after voting in favor of the second coronavirus relief package, which was passed in the Senate and signed into law on Tuesday, here.