Senators Introduce Healthcare Broadband Bill as House Companion, Proposes $2 Billion Telehealth Expansion
May 26, 2020 — On Friday, Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, John Boozman, R-Arkansas, Gary Peters , D-Michigan, Angus King, I-Maine, Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Ed Markey, D-Mass. introduced “Health Care Broadband Expansion During COVID-19 Act,” the Senate companion bill to H.R. 6474.
The bill would expand the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Health Care Program, which offers funding to eligible health care providers for broadband and telecommunications services.
House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo , D-Calif., had on April 10 introduced the House version of the bill with Rep. Don Young , R-Alaska The House version of the bill would include mobile clinics and temporary health facilities deployed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The coronavirus has only increased the need for high-quality and reliable internet connectivity as healthcare is increasingly delivered through telehealth and healthcare professionals depend on broadband for every aspect of their operations,” Eshoo said.
Healthcare providers currently pay an average of over $40,000 per year for broadband connectivity. The FCC’s Healthcare Connect Fund Program subsidizes 65 percent of the cost of broadband for eligible public and nonprofit rural healthcare facilities.
The proposed House bill would expand the program to include rural, […]
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