Health IT, Policy

Clinton: Expand Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine

Finally, a 2016 presidential candidate has said something about healthcare other than repealing Obamacare (pretty much every Republican) or single-payer “Medicare for all” (Bernie Sanders).

Finally, a 2016 presidential candidate has said something about healthcare other than repealing Obamacare (pretty much every Republican) or single-payer “Medicare for all” (Bernie Sanders). At least it was the first time someone said something newsworthy from the perspective of a certain MedCity News health IT reporter.

Wednesday in Iowa, Hillary Clinton came out in favor of widening Medicare reimbursement for telemedicine and for solving the interstate licensure issue that has held back telemedicine. That’s a huge issue to people in Iowa and other, apparently lesser, rural states that don’t have early, influential presidential caucuses.

As Politico reported, Clinton said:

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“[I]t’s still too difficult for families in rural America to find quality, affordable healthcare. And I know many families here in Iowa are worried about even more rural hospitals closing. Telemedicine can help — and we should streamline licensing and explore how to make that reimbursable under Medicare.

Here in Iowa, you just won an important victory, stopping efforts to prevent Planned Parenthood from providing telemedicine services to women who might not be able to make it to a larger city. Thousands of women in Iowa have used these services in recent years. This shouldn’t have to be said, but how can anyone be advocating for denying women access to healthcare?

Without delving into the morality debate on abortion, Clinton was referring to a unanimous June decision by the Iowa Supreme Court to block a state regulation that would have banned the dispensing of abortion-inducing pills by telemedicine.

Click here for a full transcript of Clinton’s remarks, delivered at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa. If you prefer, here’s a video of her complete talk. The part about healthcare starts at 30:56.

https://youtu.be/jYd7x0YtBqk?t=30m56s

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images