In his 14th term representing an Austin, Texas, district, Doggett is a major voice on health care policy from his perch as chair of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. He said he isn’t against continuing a telehealth expansion that began with the pandemic, but is warning about the need to build protections against fraud into the law.
“This bill contains a glaring omission,” Doggett said. “Whenever billions of federal dollars are available anywhere, some will try to steal it and that’s what’s happening with telehealth.”
Doggett is trying to slow down a speeding train, as the House’s 416-12 vote demonstrates. Enthusiasm for telehealth’s convenience has grown, even as the fears of Covid-19 that prompted the Trump administration and Congress to expand it have abated.
But Doggett’s stance reflects longstanding concerns that telehealth could become an enabler of fraud, allowing scammers, doctors and health care companies to order up unnecessary lab tests and medical equipment, or to prescribe unneeded drugs, and bill Medicare.