On Monday, Aug. 3, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to expand telehealth services in underserved rural areas as a temporary measure in response to the crisis generated by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus pandemic.
The health care access order, reported Reuters, would also be directed at the Department of Health and Human Services to allow rural providers to waive some medicare rules to ensure more stable financial payments.
“Before the pandemic, telehealth was fine, but it wasn’t anything raging, and I guess one of the only good things we’ve gotten out of this horrible situation is that telehealth has increased,” President Trump said during the White House press conference.
According to the White House, rural Americans are more likely to die from the five leading causes of death, most notably cancer and heart disease.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called the measure a “lifesaver” for people in the United States, particularly in rural areas.
“We can’t offer more access to telehealth, the argument goes, because it will just drive higher costs and more utilization,” Azar said of the opinions against the White House measures. “That isn’t how this administration looks at health care,” he said.
“Health care has caught up with the rest of the economy and how people interact, finally,” Azar said. He added, “This fits together in the broader vision the president has of the patient being at the center of health care, with lower costs, more control, and more choice.”
According to Medicare and Medicaid services, virtual phone tours increased by nearly 1.7 million per week in the last week of April from 14,000 before the pandemic.
The White House also hopes to implement a reduction in prescription drug costs, signing four executive orders last month, one of which would link drug prices to costs paid by foreign countries known as “most favored nations.”
As the Washington Examiner noted, President Trump said on Monday that he expected to meet with pharmaceutical industry executives on Friday to evaluate the drug pricing order.