What They Are Saying: Ways & Means Markup Demonstrates Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for Action to Avert Telehealth Cliff

May 9, 2024

Lawmakers Highlight the Value of Virtual Care for Consumers, Urgency to Extend Critical Flexibilities for at Least Two Years

In case you missed it, the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means held a markup session yesterday on several bills, including legislation to extend current telehealth flexibilities. Introduced by Representatives David Schweikert (R-AZ-01) and Mike Thompson (D-CA-04), H.R. 8261 would extend the current telehealth flexibilities that are set to expire at the end of this year under the Medicare program for additional two years. The committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill. 

Throughout the markup, Members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, stressed the importance of telehealth for consumers, in a strong demonstration of the overwhelming bipartisan support to safeguard access to virtual care.

Read some of what lawmakers had to say during the hearing:

Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO-08): “Only a few short years ago, these [telehealth] possibilities seemed unthinkable, but are now revolutionizing care for seniors on Medicare and those living in rural areas.”

Ranking Member Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01): “If you think about where our nation was four years ago, it’s safe to say we’re healthier, safer and more secure…Throughout the course of the last several years, in the wake of the pandemic, the ease and usefulness of the telehealth system became a central tenet for delivering health care services across our country.”

U.S. Representative Lloyd Smucker (R-PA-11): “I’m very pleased to see the committee taking action to extend several telehealth policies that will ensure Medicare beneficiaries have access to high quality and convenient healthcare services. I’ve heard from countless constituents about the importance of telehealth, especially in the rural areas of my communities, as well as providers, heard from them as well, who are able to reach more patients because of the flexibilities.”

U.S. Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA-04): “Telehealth has been a boom. In some cases, a lifesaver for seniors in every single one of our districts. I hear about this all the time at home, and I’m sure my colleagues do as well. It’s not just that telehealth can deliver care to people who otherwise would not get it or save money by preventing more expensive care because the patient has become sicker. Telehealth also saves time for families, for caregivers, and for patients.”

U.S. Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE-03): “I cannot stress enough how necessary it is for Congress to address the COVID era telehealth provision scheduled to expire at the end of this year.”

U.S. Representative Judy Chu (D-CA-28): “At the end of this year the important telehealth flexibility that Congress first provided during the COVID-19 pandemic are set to expire and it’s important that we take action to preserve Americans’ access to these crucial services… It’s clear that there’s no going back to the pre-pandemic days when it comes to our use of telehealth and it’s important that Congress legislate in a way that reflects the new reality.”

U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01): “Today marks an important step in the legislative process for ensuring access to medical care when and where a Medicare beneficiary needs it. Many of my colleagues and I are strong supporters of telehealth and have worked together this spring with the goal of preserving and enhancing access to telehealth services.”

U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL-10): “Before, during and after the pandemic crisis, I, and members of my family, have benefitted from telehealth, just like millions of Americans all across this country. The pandemic converted even the skeptics among us. We all saw how critical telehealth was with so many confined to their homes. We also saw how telehealth from the home can make accessing care more welcoming and easier, as in the case of mental health care services. I believe that telehealth has enormous power to tackle equity issues in health care and eliminate access barriers for people in rural and low-income communities, and for those who have limited English proficiency.”

Watch the full hearing HERE and read TAFA’s statement ahead of the markup HERE.


Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) is a public education campaign supported by leaders in health care committed to better care, expanded patient choice, and protecting access to critical telehealth services.

Learn more at www.telehealthaccessforamerica.org