Rural Health Policy UpdateJuly 2023
NOSORH Visits Capitol Hill
On June 14, NOSORH CEO Tammy Norville, along with Oregon Office of Rural Health Director Bob Duehmig, were on Capitol Hill visiting with House and Senate offices. The meetings were part of a broader effort to increase support for the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program as well as continue to promote the work of State Offices across the country.
Rural Health Caucus Launches
On June 20, the House Rural Health Caucus was launched. Reps. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) and Jill Tokuda (D-HI) will chair the bipartisan caucus, which seeks to provide a forum for House members to host events and advocate for legislation that helps increase access to quality, affordable health care and mental health services for rural Americans. Here is the press release from Harshbarger’s office and the announcement from Tokuda’s office. NOSORH met with Harshbarger’s and Tokuda’s offices in June and looks forward to working closely with both offices to grow the membership and help amplify the voice of the House caucus.
Business as Usual for Congressional Appropriations Process
With the new 118th Congress, there was hopeful thinking that Congress would pass each individual appropriations bill ahead of the September 30th deadline. That goal appears more and more aspirational by the day, as Congress is basically on a similar pace to past years in dealing with Appropriations. On June 15, the House approved the 12 subcommittee allocation amounts. The Senate also set its spending allocations, but at a much higher level than the House. In the House, leadership is using the recently passed Fiscal Responsibility Act (debt limit bill) numbers as a ceiling and not a floor. While some subcommittees in both chambers have begun the markup process, the HHS/HRSA markup will not happen until the week of July 10 at the earliest. That almost assuredly means Congress will be unable to pass the Labor-HHS bill before September 30.
NOSORH will continue to monitor both chambers throughout July for the release of the Flex and SORH spending levels for FY 2024.
Update provided by Andrew Coats, NOSORH Legislative Liaison