Scott Joins Bipartisan, Bicameral Group of Lawmakers in Calling for the Permanent Expansion of Telehealth Coverage
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) joined a bipartisan group of 49 lawmakers in urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to make the expanded use of telehealth services during the COVID-19 permanent. Provisions in the CONNECT for Health Act that have allowed Medicare beneficiaries to access the same healthcare in their homes during the pandemic will be expiring once the pandemic has been contained.
“Telehealth has been a critical tool during the COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring that patients can continue to receive the health care services that they need while minimizing the spread of the virus and keeping health care providers and patients healthy and safe,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “We continue to hear from our constituents and health care providers that the uncertainty about the long-term future of Medicare telehealth coverage is a barrier to organizations investing fully in telehealth. Congress needs to act now to better serve patients and health care providers during the pandemic, and to ensure that telehealth remains an option after the pandemic is over.”
In their letter, the lawmakers highlight the growing use and benefits of telehealth during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as patients seek to avoid traveling to hospitals and other providers and instead receive care at home. New data shows that the number of Medicare beneficiaries using telehealth services increased by nearly 13,000 percent in just a month and a half during the pandemic.
In addition to Scott, the letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), John Boozman (R-AR), Angus King (I-ME), Rand Paul (R-KY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jon Tester (D-MT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and U.S. Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), David Schweikert (R-AZ), David McKinley (R-WV), Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Greg Stanton (D-AZ), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Michael Guest (R-MS), Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Tom Cole (R-OK), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), and Ron Kind (D-WI).
The full text of the letter is available HERE.