Permanent telehealth expansion could cost Medicare $25B over 1 decade

Permanent expansion of telehealth coverage could cost Medicare $25 billion over 10 years, even without increased use, according to a report released April 21 by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

The nonpartisan think tank based its estimate on a recent Congressional Budget Office estimate for Congress' five-month extension to telehealth flexibilities, which was announced March 9.

"The occasional expiration of authorities will provide policymakers the opportunity to review research into telehealth’s impact on healthcare costs," the report read. "That way, it will be possible to pair extensions with other healthcare cost reductions. There are numerous ways to control healthcare costs and using the opportunity of expanding benefits is a natural opportunity to enact cost controls."

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