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Sen. Cruz to Introduce Legislation to Expand Healthcare Access & Make Testing More Available

April 15, 2020

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HOUSTON, Texas - As the nation works to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and re-open America's economy, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today announced his intention to introduce two pieces of legislation when Congress returns to expand healthcare access and make testing more accessible and widely available.

To expand healthcare access, especially in the communities hit hardest by the coronavirus, Sen. Cruz will introduce the Equal Access to Care Act - legislation to allow licensed health care providers to use telemedicine to treat patients over the phone and online wherever there is a health need, regardless of the state where the healthcare provider is licensed or patient is located. By removing existing barriers to telemedicine, this legislation will increase the number of providers who can offer telemedicine across the nation, allow more Americans to access treatment without leaving their homes, and free up local healthcare providers to treat patients who require in-person medical care.

To make testing more accessible and widely available, Sen. Cruz will introduce the Right to Test Act - legislation to empower states with the authority to approve and distribute diagnostic tests when the state or nation has declared a public health emergency. By empowering states with this authority, this legislation will help address the testing delays that occurred earlier at the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and allow states to more rapidly respond to the evolving health needs of their communities as they work to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Upon announcing the legislation, Sen. Cruz said:

"As we all work to defeat the coronavirus and help Americans safely return to work, these two pieces of legislation will remove bureaucratic barriers that have stood in the way of effective telemedicine and making testing more widely available. These important and necessary steps will help more people safely access the treatment they need - regardless of where they live or where their doctor is licensed - and help states more effectively reduce the spread of this virus."

Last month, Sen. Cruz introduced three pieces of legislation focused on increasing access to healthcare and expediting the approval for vaccines and treatments already approved in other countries, and called on Secretary Azar to use significant powers of the Defense Production Act to immediately address the scarcity of life-saving medical equipment. These proposals are part of the four-part, all-hands-on-deck approach Sen. Cruz has outlined to reduce the spread of coronavirus and ensure Americans can safely return to work.

For COVID-19 information and additional resources, visit www.cruz.senate.gov/coronavirus/.

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