So should emergency physicians hope that VoIP does not survive Congress so that California could better fund its emergency services? Yesterday I pointed to the California Medical Socieity's President's proposal. Today, Congress wants to preserve the subsidy for rural and low income "plain old telephone service" (POTS).
The Wednesday, July 7 hearing, "VoIP: Will the Technology Disrupt the Industry or Will Regulation Disrupt the Technology?" should open a small window on this policy making process.
It seems intuitively more reasonable for subsidy to accrue to the same business rather than across businesses. Not that telephone taxes haven't funded wars, but at least the present subsidy goes to deliver telephone services to more users, not EMS.
Much as I'd like to see support to "help bail out" emergency departments, trauma centers and emergency doctors I don't think taxing communication services is a good approach, particularly as Vonnage Wins One suggests that we may not have plain old telephone service (POTS) to kick around for much longer as a tax base, or at least that is if we want a modern communication infrastructure; a social good at least as important to our society as emergency health care.