Rural Health Policy Update – November 2022

SORH Reauthorization Bill Introduced in the House: On October 4, Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) introduced H.R. 9137, the State Offices of Rural Health Reauthorization Bill of 2022. The bipartisan bill seeks to reauthorize the SORH program for five years, from FY 2023-2027. In addition, the bill would increase funding for the SORH program by 20 percent annually. The increase would take SORH funding from $12,500,000 to $15,000,000 were the bill passed into law. Since its introduction, Reps. O’Halleran and Mullin have circulated a Dear Colleague letter asking other House members to endorse the bill as co-sponsors. 

A week earlier, the Senate Co-Chairs of the Rural Health Caucus, Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Tina Smith (D-MN), introduced the Senate companion bill, S. 4978, the State Offices of Rural Health Reauthorization Act of 2022. The bill has quickly added seven co-sponsors in the Senate, including Sens: Baldwin (D-WI), Blackburn (R-TN), Hoeven (R-ND), Klobuchar (D-MN), Lummis (R-WY), and Scott (R-SC). 

NOSORH will spend the remaining three months of the 117th Congress advocating for Congress to include this legislation in an end-of-year spending bill or pass it as a stand-alone bill. The 117th Congress ends no later than December 31, 2022, and could adjourn earlier. If you have contacts in a House or Senate office or would be interested in reaching out to a Congressional office on behalf of your SORH, please email their staff and ask them to co-sponsor these important bills. Or contact NOSORH with any questions. 

National Rural Health Day Approaching: NOSORH is gearing up for the third Thursday of November (November 17) to celebrate National Rural Health Day. Along with NRHA, NOSORH is leading an effort on the Hill to introduce a resolution recognizing the importance of National Rural Health Day. Reps. Tom O’Halleran and Tom Cole (R-OK) are the sponsors in the House. Look for press releases and statements from members of Congress discussing the importance of rural health throughout the week of November 14. 

Congress Passes Short-Term Funding Extension: On September 29, the Senate passed a short-term funding bill, sending the measure to the House and averting a federal government shutdown before the September 30 deadline. The bill will keep the federal government funded at FY 2022 levels through December 16, 2022. That leaves Congress less than three months to pass an omnibus spending bill and usher in FY 2023 spending levels.