What We're Reading: Telehealth Bills; Trump Discusses Right-to-Try; House Panel to Discuss Opioids

Four telehealth bills could be signed into law over the next year by Congress; President Donald Trump mentioned "right-to-try" legislation in a favorable light in his State of the Union speech; the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold legislation hearings on the opioid crisis February 26.

Telehealth Bills Inch Closer to Passage in Congress

Four telehealth bills could be signed into law over the next year, which could resolve the issue of how to reimburse Medicare providers and save potentially billions in public funding. Reuters quoted one analyst who said roughly $135 billion of Medicare's annual $675 billion in spending could be done by telehealth. Two issues to be fixed: how to charge across state lines, and getting Medicare to recognize medical consultations that are not face-to-face as the equivalent of a personal visit to a healthcare provider.

Trump Endorses “Right-To-Try” Laws in State of the Union

President Donald Trump endorsed efforts by Congress to pass so-called “right-to-try” legislation, which would allow access to experimental treatments for patients with terminal conditions. STAT reported the president’s comments in the State of the Union speech were the first about the issue in nearly a year. The Senate passed legislation last fall but the effort has stalled in the House.

House Panel to Hold Hearings on Opioid Crisis

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will begin holding legislative hearings on measures to fight the opioid crisis the week of February 26, The Hill reported. The panel said that there will be multiple hearings to consider legislation aimed at fighting opioid use disorder. Earlier this month, the bipartisan National Governors Association called on Congress and the Trump administration to come up with more funding and coordinate on a response to the crisis, the Associated Press reported.