Former Members Lead Bipartisan Push to Expand Tele-medicine – John Breaux, Trent Lott

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    Senior Counsels Trent Lott and John Breaux, along with former Sen. Tom Daschle, are featured in a New York Times piece on their efforts to push an expansion of tele-medicine. Working on behalf of the Alliance for Connected Care, a nonprofit collection of health care providers, insurers, pharmacies, technology firms and telecommunications companies, the team is pursuing legislative and regulatory changes to provide Americans with access to more health care remotely.

    According to the former lawmakers, the idea of using the nation’s growing digital capacity to provide more health care has significant bipartisan support and could be a solution to the partisan schism over the Affordable Care Act.

    “They have been fighting so long on the A.C.A.-Obamacare,” Mr. Breaux said. “To have something we can all agree on is an opportunity to say yes, we can come together on health care.”

    The former members are trying to build a consensus to move forward with a focus on winning insurance reimbursement for remotely delivered care, while putting in place safeguards against fraud in the still emerging field.

    All three expressed frustration with the current state of the polarized Senate, but offer different perspectives on the solutions.

    Mr. Breaux said the leadership of the two parties does not communicate, while Mr. Lott said he thinks the Senate needs to return to regular order, put bills on the floor, work through amendments pushed by both parties and find a way to lessen the impact of the often politically charged votes.

    Their push for health care changes, even with some has Republican support, could run into the tension surrounding the health care law and whether it should be repealed or massaged. Even Mr. Lott, the Republican, conceded there is no chance the health law will be stripped off the books, though he would not advise Republicans to back off in their efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act.

    “I’m a realist,” he said. “Everybody knows it is not going to be repealed before 2017, if ever.”

    Still, Mr. Breaux said, “There is life after Congress.”

    “And it is bipartisan,” Mr. Lott added.

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