Rural Health Policy Update

May 2023

NOSORH Visits Washington DC

On April 25, NOSORH spent the day visiting with lawmakers and their staff on Capitol Hill. NOSORH met with House and Senate offices to advocate for increased appropriations for the SORH program in FY ’24 and reauthorization of the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility grant program (Flex). The late April DC weather was ideal for NOSORH as they joined with other Rural Health Action Alliance members to promote their advocacy agenda.   

NOSORH met with the following offices: Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Senator John Thune (R-SD), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT). On the House side, NOSORH met with Rep. Llyod Doggett’s (D-TX) office.   

The meetings come amid Congress’ busiest DC stretch of the 2023 calendar year. Between mid-April and July 4, either the House or Senate will be in session every week. During this time, a host of rural health issues, including SORH and Flex spending levels, price transparency, DSH cuts, and 340B, will be among the items debated in House and Senate committees. At the House floor level, Congressional Republicans are looking to limit Fiscal Year 2024 spending to the FY 2022 enacted level. While that could pose a threat to various rural health programs, the Senate has indicated they would not follow the House lead, setting up an upcoming showdown on federal spending levels.   

Rural Health-Related Bills Recently Introduced by Congress 

  • Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced the 340B Reporting and Accountability Act. The bill, S. 1182, would require participating 340B hospitals to report the following to HHS: (1) total amount of money received from 340B, (2) the total amount the covered entity paid for outpatient drugs, and (3) how excess revenue from 340B is spent.   
  • Rep. John Joyce (R-PA) introduced H.R.2761, which seeks to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize a loan repayment program to encourage specialty medicine physicians to serve in rural communities experiencing a shortage of specialty medicine physicians.  
  • Energy and Commerce Ranking member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced H.R.2569, which amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize the program of payments to teaching health centers that operate GME programs.   
  • Rep. Abby Spanberger (D-VA) introduced H.R.2534. The bill would ensure equitable treatment of covered 340B hospitals by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and insurers. Here is the Spanberger press release.   

Update Provided by Hall Render, NOSORH Legislative Liaison.