Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro on Friday called for a permanent extension of Medicaid coverage for telehealth services, backing a bipartisan measure in Congress. 

Telehealth had become a popular option during the COVID-19 pandemic for people who still have medical appointments, but were unable to do so in person. 

In particular, Molinaro pointed to the effect of telehealth for rural health clinics and residents as well as federally qualified health centers. The measure would also expand coverage to audio-only services under certain conditions. 

"Access to quality healthcare should not be a luxury reserved for urban areas," Molinaro said. "Rural communities matter and deserve the same level of care and convenience. That’s why I introduced the Protecting Rural Telehealth Act. This bipartisan legislation makes permanent telehealth flexibilities that were originally implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, we will ensure Upstate New Yorkers have access to the care they need, regardless of their zip code.”