by Jordan Roberts
Director of Government Affairs, John Locke Foundation
What will the top eight political battles be that tech companies will fight in 2019? This question is answered in a recent Fortune article written by Bradley Tusk of Tusk Ventures. Among the eight are cannabis, e-scooters, voting, and telehealth. Mr. Tusk offered a wise description of the issue at hand with telehealth:
The good news for the tele-health sector is that everyone across the ideological spectrum loves it. Conservatives love tele-health. Liberals love tele-health. It’s the rare issue with bipartisan support. However, that means lots and lots of actual work ahead, in both the states and in Washington, with rules and regulations being issued at a faster and faster clip to govern how tele-health should actually work and be reimbursed. This will healthcare tech companies like Ro, Nurx and HIMS busy.
Most startups now realize they have to take politics seriously — just how seriously is what we’ll find out in the coming year.
This summary is an important reminder that the issue of telehealth or telemedicine is a bipartisan issue. Both parties agree that the health care sector has serious flaws and that telehealth measures have the potential to solve many of those issues. This is an emerging technology and relatively in its early stages of technological realization. What will hinder the evolution of this product is over-regulation. Mandating the equal use or adoption of this technology neglects to acknowledge the physicians are the ones ultimately who will use this technology. Federal and state regulators should defer to medical professionals and allow them to adopt the technology as they see fit.