Telemedicine has brought a lot of relief in the health sector by making available easy access, timely access and less expensive medical care. Technically speaking, Telemedicine can connect a patient in Idaho to experts in New York. However, it is impractical because of licensing laws that make such interaction impossible.
The Republican health policy reforms suggested by House Speaker Paul Ryan include the power of choice for health care consumers. They will achieve this by the use of health savings account. One of the major delimits of the plan is its lack of measures to address the government bureaucracy that inhibits the consumers’ choice of care. Fortunately, Congress has the power to do away with any such bureaucracies.
The current state laws are more inclined to meeting the interests of providers and not to make a much needed better environment. As they stand, the laws demand telemedicine providers to pay multiple licensing fees in all the states where they want to practice and keep up with the ever-changing rules of all the states. Patients, therefore, have no choice but to settle for the available in-state services.
Federal initiatives to deal with the problem are yet to bear fruits. The Licensure Portability Grant Program funding only served the interests of the board members of the Federation of State Medical Boards who do not want change. It is no wonder that the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact does not enforce license portability. Despite having 17 member states, the compact is yet to make things better for telemedicine providers internationally. Instead, the compact has inhibited actions that would make telemedicine achieve international development.
The Commerce Clause of the Constitution can pass a law to enable physicians to use a single license from their home state to practice in any of the 50 states. The physician will also be guided by the rules and regulations of the state awarding him the license.
It is possible to create a national healthcare market without having first to amass a lot of financial resources. We can stop denying Americans health care of high quality and affordable cost. Telemedicine revolution is the way to achieve all that.