Advancing Telehealth Beyond Covid-19 Act of 2021

Floor Speech

Date: July 27, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCHWEIKERT. Madam Speaker, you hear everyone here all say something nice. We all like telehealth. I am frustrated because I can't get my head around why we are not going further.

Outside the internal political theater, those of us who have worked on this legislation since the day we got here and then all of a sudden wake up one day and it is a different bill with someone who I have never even heard of working on it, God bless. The majority gets to do things like that.

We want a change in the price of healthcare. Can we come together and unleash technology? Telehealth is more than just looking at the phone and doing FaceTime or now talking. It is the wearable. It is the thing. It is the thing you lick.

There is technology with which we could be crushing the price of healthcare, and instead, we are doing little incremental steps here.

There are a couple of problems with the bill the Democrats decided to bring to the floor. It is for 2 years. We compromised to 4. If you want capital investments in the technology, you have to give us at least 4. It should be permanent.

There is also something in here that is just frustrating. You missed the language on health savings accounts. You have 32 million people now who functionally are not going to have access to be able to use those accounts for their telehealth.

Madam Speaker, there is just a frustration here because we all talk pretty about this, and then we are unwilling to do the things that could potentially help us all by disrupting the price of healthcare and increasing access, maybe making people's lives better. Instead, it just became more political theater. We should be ashamed of ourselves.


Mr. SCHWEIKERT. Madam Speaker, if I came to the body and said the bill we had all been working on, H.R. 8489--when you have someone like Lloyd Doggett and someone like me, and we are actually working together, we are working on some of the antifraud provisions, program integrity provisions, you actually had something this body was doing where we weren't beating the crap out of each other. It was something that actually might be good for people in the country. Instead, we turned it back into another opportunity for political gamesmanship.

It is my intense disappointment because it is our language, substantially something I have worked on for years, that was grabbed for the pandemic. We all know it expires the day the pandemic is declared over. It is time to take this opportunity--I know there is an army of lobbyists out there that despise telehealth because it changes the populations that walk in the threshold. To hell with them. Let's finally do what is right.


Mr. SCHWEIKERT. Madam Speaker, I have a motion to recommit at the desk.


Mr. SCHWEIKERT. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered.