The COVID-19 pandemic has been with us for a year now, and in that time, there’s been little to get excited about. Many restaurants and small businesses have been decimated. Emergency orders have been abused across the state and country. And we all know the impact it’s had on kids in school.

But amid this great adversity, not all has been lost. Some things have emerged as great values to our society. One of those is telehealth.

Right now is the perfect time to leverage what we’ve learned and remove any barriers to this great service. And so far, it seems that our state is headed that way.

Momentum is building at the legislature for Arizona to once again lead on health care reform, this time by seeking legislation to make permanent Governor Ducey’s emergency executive order that allows Arizona residents to obtain telehealth services from practitioners licensed in any of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Preventing telehealth to consumers has been outdated for years, especially given the fact that licensing requirements for medical professionals are nearly identical across all 50 states. Furthermore, as pointed out by Cato Senior Fellow Dr. Jeff Singer, out-of-state providers would still be required to follow all state laws and regulations, meaning the standard for care will be the same for patients whether or not the medical professional resides in the state or not.

And Governor Ducey backs this up in his 2021 Policy Priorities stating, “If it’s safe and it works during a pandemic, we should embrace it when we’re not in an emergency as well.”

Unfortunately, some Democrats are already trying to put up a barrier to telehealth. They want to prevent the people of Arizona from accessing providers out of state.

But there is no good reason to deny someone the ability to use this service. The benefits are far too great.

By simply allowing telehealth services from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., the people of Arizona would gain access to the best available medical professionals across the country. Think about what that could mean for your health care.

Plus, you would save both time and money by not traveling to and from a doctor’s office or waiting for an appointment. That’s right. No more awkwardly paging through a magazine that’s 3 months old while you wait for your lab results. If you don’t need an in-person consultation for your health issue, just sign on your computer, attend your appointment, and get back to doing the things you really love.

In addition to these benefits, providers would be much more motivated to improve the quality of their services. And they would be more likely to look at ways to reduce their costs to make sure they remain competitive.

But perhaps the best part is, it’s your choice. If you don’t want to use telehealth services, you don’t have to. But why deny someone the opportunity to do so if he or she thinks it would be best?

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we need more consumer choice in health care. Thankfully, telehealth isn’t anything new. Just ask anyone who’s been using 1-800 Contacts for the last couple decades. But expanding its reach would provide a great benefit to the people of Arizona because telehealth puts patients first, not profits.

Now, Arizona could become the first state in the country to permanently allow licensed medical professionals from other states to provide telehealth services to its residents. We just need to help Governor Ducey convince our legislators.