The Saturday letter “Telehealth will be valuable even after pandemic ends” from David Stukus made a good case for online visits with medical providers as the pandemic continues and ends. I’ve had a couple of those with my own doctors.
One large limitation, however, is that you can’t do blood work online. Doctors often need this for diagnosis and treatment, and tests are a part of a doctor visit.
Telehealth is also accessible only to those who have some form of effective insurance, which now 100 million Americans do not. In addition to the 30 million without coverage, another 70 million now have insurance with large annual deductibles and copays, which they are loath to use.
Access to medical care, i.e. how to pay for it, continues to be the elephant in the room.
Taxpayer “public” expense for health care in the USA has increased during the pandemic, from 60% of overall medical spending to a figure much higher, as the health providers, i.e. insurers, hospitals and drug companies, have turned for financial help from the “payer of last resort,” the federal government. Has no one noticed that trillions of dollars of public money have been spent helping medical providers? How hard would it be if the federal government just took responsibility for paying for all necessary medical care through the unified payment system of Medicare for All, costing less and covering everyone, including for telehealth visits with your doctor?