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Nov. 6 — Legislation relating to the commercialization of research and the costs of storing cord blood was introduced Nov. 5 in the House.
A bill (H.R. 3983) introduced by Rep. Scott H. Peters (D-Calif.) would “provide for a report on the role of incubators and accelerators in the commercialization of federally funded research and regional economic development.” Incubator programs are designed to help startup companies succeed by providing resources such as office space and equipment.
A House aide said Nov. 6 that the bill would require the National Academy of Sciences to conduct the study and issue a report within a year of enactment. According to a text of the bill provided to Bloomberg BNA, the report would:
• examine metrics for comparing startups that have and haven't completed incubator or accelerator programs, and the role of incubators and accelerators in developing regional innovation clusters; and
• identify best practices in the structure, goals, operation, management and funding mechanisms of leading incubators and accelerators.
The bill was referred to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
A separate bill (H.R. 3982) would allow parents to use tax-exempt funds from health savings and flexible spending accounts to pay for collection and storage of their children's cord blood tissue. Introduced by Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.), the bipartisan Family Cord Blood Banking Act is designed to provide greater access to families seeking to collect and store cord and placental blood and tissue, which contain stem cells that can be used for future therapies.
According to CordBlood.com, it costs $1,650 to collect and store cord blood during the first year. After that the annual storage fee is $150 per year or $3,995 for lifetime storage. ViaCord has similar initial costs, although it offers 20-year and 25-year storage plans for $2,765 and $3,225, respectively.
“Since private blood and tissue banking is not typically covered by health insurance plans, giving families flexibility by allowing them to use HSAs and FSAs will help lower barriers to this important service,” Paulsen said in a Nov. 6 statement.
According to the National Cord Blood Program, the stem cells in one cord blood unit “can engraft and grow to replace a recipient's diseased bone marrow with new, healthy bone marrow cells.”
Kind said, “This legislation supports families that choose this potentially life-saving investment by providing tax incentives to ease the burden of their medical expenses.”
H.R. 3982 was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
More information on the cord blood bill is available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3982.
More information on the incubator bill is available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3983.
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