WASHINGTON — Telehealth companies, flush with cash after the Covid-19 pandemic spiked both demand and investment, are now embarking on massive lobbying efforts to secure their interests on Capitol Hill.
The goal is clear: Lawmakers are weighing whether to permanently loosen regulations that were temporarily eased during the pandemic. Among other changes, providers have been allowed to practice in states where they are not licensed, and Medicare has been permitted to pay providers the same for virtual visits as in-person ones. Lobbyists for the rapidly growing industry are determined to keep those changes intact.
Of all the companies stepping up their lobbying, an analysis by STAT has found that the industry giant Teladoc is perhaps most notable. It is spending more than twice as much as it did at the start of 2020. So is the Alliance for Connected Care, which includes Amwell, Amazon, CVS Health, Walmart, and several prominent health systems. And other companies that hadn’t been lobbying at all before the pandemic, including DispatchHealth and Everly Health, have now hired advocates and upped their spending.