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Sens. Cruz, Blackburn Introduce Equal Access to Care Act

Bill expands healthcare access by removing bureaucratic barriers to telemedicine

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) today introduced the Equal Access to Care Act - legislation to expand access to telemedicine during the coronavirus emergency period by allowing licensed health care providers to treat patients over the phone and online wherever the patient is located.

Upon introducing the bill, Sen. Cruz said:

"Expanding healthcare access in the communities hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic is crucial to our nation's recovery. This bill will remove bureaucratic barriers that for too long have stood in the way of effective telemedicine, and will help ensure the American people have their healthcare needs met - regardless of where they live or where their doctor is licensed - and equip our healthcare providers with the capacity they need to treat patients and ultimately defeat this virus."

Sen. Blackburn added:

"Telehealth has proven to be an effective tool for providing patients access to health care, including during and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased utilization from March 2 to April 14, shows urgent care telehealth visits increased 135 percent and nonurgent visits increased 4,345 percent. Removing bureaucratic red table will result in more services in more places by more providers so that Americans can get care without the risk of exposing themselves to COVID-19 in a doctor's office or hospital."

Read the full text of the bill here. By removing existing barriers to telemedicine in interstate commerce during the pandemic, 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. This proposal is 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.

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