HARRISBURG – Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) expressed disappointment today upon learning Gov. Tom Wolf had chosen to veto legislation improving accessibility to telemedicine in the Commonwealth.
“Time and again, the governor displays how out of touch he is with the people of rural Pennsylvania,” Owlett said. “Telemedicine could be a vital tool to help our residents and health care providers. The governor’s veto is a significant setback to our efforts to improve rural health care.”
In his veto message, the governor cited a House change to the bill that he claims “arbitrarily restricts the use of telemedicine for certain doctor-patient interactions” and “interferes with women’s health care and the crucial decision-making between patients and their physicians.”
“To be clear, the governor’s veto is the result of pro-abortion advocates’ claims that it changes existing abortion laws, even though it does not,” Owlett said.
Senate Bill 857
does nothing to impact existing access to abortions in Pennsylvania because it codifies existing FDA regulations. The legislation does ensure dozens of medications, which can have significant side effects, are prescribed or delivered in person as required by federal law. Abortion medications are not singled out, and there is no change to a doctor’s ability to prescribe any of the medications on the federal list referenced in the bill.
“There was no good reason to veto this bill and so many good reasons to sign it into law,” Owlett said. “This is a perfect example of politics getting in the way of good policy.”
Owlett said he will continue to advocate for improved access to telemedicine in rural communities and across the Commonwealth.
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler