Senator Blackburn gives 2020 recap
WASHINGTON, D.C.–A Tennessee senator discusses some of the 2020 highlights from working in Washington.
Senator Marsha Blackburn discussed two big bills that will have impact here in West Tennessee.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the precarious state of rural America’s healthcare system,” Senator Blackburn said.
Senator Blackburn introduced the Rural Health Agenda, with the goal of addressing rural health care challenges in rural areas.
“My three bill Rural Healthcare Agenda that we talked about as a 2020 priority will increase access to healthcare for the 60 million Americans who live in rural areas,” Senator Blackburn said.
The three bills included are the bipartisan Rural America Health Corps Act, the Rural Health Innovation Act, and the Telemedicine Across State Lines Act.
“A crucial component of my rural health agenda was a set of provisions that lifted unnecessary regulatory barriers standing in the way of access to telemedicine,” Senator Blackburn said.
Other components aim to help communities leverage their existing resources to fulfill urgent care needs, and incentivize healthcare graduates to rotate through underserved communities.
Part of these plans have already been put into place.
Senator Blackburn says that last month, Vanderbilt University Medical Center tallied over 200,000 telehealth visits since March.
Another major focus was on rural internet access, especially after the need for distance learning and working from home.
“The Bipartisan Internet Exchange Act recently passed from the Senate Commerce Committee, and now it is one step closer to becoming law” Senator Blackburn said.
Senator Blackburn says this bill will offset the cost of establishing broadband connections through a series of grants for underserved rural communities.
“We all live in a world where even simple online interactions require lightning fast connections,” Senator Blackburn said.
Senator Blackburn says the FCC awarded Tennessee a nearly $150 million dollar grant to help close the digital divide over the next decade.