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Photo: Axios

Any infrastructure plan passed by Congress should address broadband access for telemedicine, Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif) said at Axios event Thursday.

Why it matters: Virtual doctor's appointments and therapy sessions could be the norm, even as more people get vaccinated, and offices open to patients. But many communities, like Native American tribes, lack access to high-speed internet.

What they're saying: "Telehealth, telemedicine was great for a lot of folks, but a lot of communities don't actually have broadband and access to those tools," Bera said. "I do think Congress has a role in working with the Biden administration as we put together this infrastructure plan. 'Can we address that broadband access?'"

  • "Telehealth remains critical," Bera said. "We have to think about how we make sure that people are getting access to the care that they're receiving. That's going to be an important piece that CMS will also be looking at as we look to make some of these policies more permanent."
  • Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreed Congress should move. "There are some pieces of telehealth that CMS will have some authority, but Congress is going to need to act on some of the critical pieces to make telehealth permanent."

Watch the full event here.

Go deeper

Sep 9, 2021 - Health

HHS awards over $18M in grants to bolster students' health care access

Students and parents in line to enter school. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Biden administration has awarded over $18 million in grants to expand students' access to health care and mental health support as the new school year takes off, according to new numbers shared with Axios.

Why it matters: Both children's mental health and their utilization of mental health services worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, per research from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). The return to in-person instruction could also lead to increased health risks depending on masking and vaccinations in the community.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
39 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China vows end to building coal-fired power plants abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Mary Altaffer - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Why it matters: The pledge, if maintained, would mark a breakthrough in efforts to transition global power away from the most carbon-emitting fuel.

House Democrats strip Iron Dome money from government funding bill

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday stripped $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome defense system from its short-term government funding bill after backlash from progressives, people familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: There has never a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic party over Israel.