Victory for Healthcare Freedom – Telehealth Bill Sent to Governor’s Desk!

February 6, 2024

Felicity Ropp

Policy Analyst

We have another Freedom Agenda healthcare win to report! Healthcare in South Carolina just got a little freer and more accessible for South Carolinians on January 31 with the passage of H. 4159, the Telehealth and Telemedicine Modernization Act!

The bill was first filed last year and passed by the House in May 2023. At the beginning of the 2024 legislative session, the Senate fast-tracked the bill unanimously with an expansive amendment, and on January 31,  the House concurred with the amendment, officially sending the Telehealth and Telemedicine Modernization Act to the Governor’s desk! We urge Governor McMaster to sign this outstanding legislation as soon as possible.

Palmetto Promise has supported the expansion of telemedicine for years. In fact, it was item #9 in our 2023 Palmetto Freedom Agenda. Telehealth allows patients to access medical care more efficiently, flexibly, and cost-effectively than going in-person for every appointment, and we fully support the reduction of regulations that allow consumers the ability to choose the best care for them. This is particularly beneficial for rural South Carolinians, where in-person medical providers are fewer and further between.

Back in 2022, PPI Senior Fellow Dr. Oran Smith testified in support of S. 1179, which allowed social workers, professional counselors, and other mental health professionals to practice via telehealth. The bill was ultimately passed in both chambers and signed into law in May 2022. According to the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance, South Carolina’s telehealth scene has grown rapidly, with over 1.2 million telehealth interactions between patients and medical professionals in the year 2022. A few months ago, we discussed the next steps for telehealth and other essential healthcare reforms in our Beyond Policy podcast here.

Now this session, we are pleased to see the General Assembly take that next step with the passage of H. 4159!

Representative Sylleste Davis, chair of the House’s Medical Committee, put it best in her post on X (formerly known as Twitter):

The repeal of Certificate of Need laws in South Carolina opened the door to greater advancements in healthcare freedom and a medical system that is free of burdensome, costly regulations. Now, that momentum continues with telehealth expansion, another Freedom Agenda win that every South Carolinian should celebrate.