U.S. House passes 21st Century Cures health bill

A security guard stands on the step to the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a sweeping, $6.3 billion bill that supporters say will spur medical innovation, speed access to new drugs, expand access to mental health treatment and battle the opioid epidemic.

The bill, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, had widespread bipartisan support, including the backing of the Obama administration, though critics said it gives massive handouts to the pharmaceutical industry while making cuts to public health programs and Medicare.

(Reporting by Toni Clarke; Editing by Eric Beech)