As my colleagues just wrapped up participating in the 2-day World Congress Telehealth Executive Summit and are preparing for the 6th Annual Community for Connected Health Summit at HIMSS13, I’ve been thinking even more about telehealth technology and how far it has come since my first exposure to it almost almost thirteen years ago.
The technology has made amazing strides, and with healthcare costs on the rise, it’s no surprise government agencies and other organizations are looking to the technology to curb health costs while increasing the efficiency and quality of care.
Telehealth technologies, such as Cisco’s HealthPresence (and version 2.5, just announced this month), can increase access to specialized care and allow medical specialists to conduct virtual consultations. By leveraging technologies and solutions like Unified Workspace and cloud, telehealth has real potential to transform the delivery of healthcare.
Realizing the power of connected healthcare, House Representative Mike Thompson introduced a telehealth bill in late December. If passed, Telehealth Promotion Act of 2012 could extend telehealth benefits to more than 75 million Americans by removing two existing barriers--licensure and reimbursements.
…and the support for telehealth keeps going.
The Federal Communications Commission recently announced that it will allocate $400 million a year to expand existing telehealth pilot program. The funds will help increase connectivity between urban medical centers and rural clinics to better coordinate care and lower costs among other benefits.
With more organizations realizing the potential of telehealth technologies, it’s clear we may soon see it take center stage. Where do you see telehealth having the greatest impact on government and the public sector?
Tags: govtech, healthcare reform, himss, medical, telemedicine
The federal government will be allowed to tax people for failure to have health insurance. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty is unconstitutional under the commerce clause but allowable under a taxing clause.
The landmark decisions end two years of legal uncertainty and vigorous barbecue and cocktail party debates. The decision has wide-ranging implications that are yet to be fully understood.
”The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling.
The 26 states that opposed it said that while Congress has the authority to regulate interstate commerce, it doesn’t have the power to require people to buy a product.
One area of the law that did see a significant restrict ion was the portion of the law relative to the expansion of Medicaid, the government health-insurance program for low-income and sick people. The ruling gives states some flexibility not to expand their Medicaid programs, without paying the same financial penalties that the law called for.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the law will cost the government about $938 billion over 10 years. The CBO has also estimated that it will reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over a decade.
It is unlikely this will be the last we have heard of it. Our politicians will still have more to say. And barbecues and cocktail parties will not be left bereft of conversation this summer.
What do you think?
Tags: affordable care act, healthcare, healthcare reform, medicare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Supreme court, what do you think about