Rural Health Policy Update – October 2022

SORH Reauthorization Bill Introduced in the Senate:   

On September 29, the Senate Co-Chairs of the Rural Health Caucus, Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Tina Smith (D-MN), introduced S. 4978, the State Offices of Rural Health Reauthorization Act of 2022. The 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.   


NOSORH will spend the remaining three months of the 117th Congress advocating for Congress to include S. 4978 in an end-of-year spending bill. The 117th Congress ends no later than December 31, 2022, and could adjourn earlier.   


In the House, Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) are planning to introduce a companion measure. Rep. Mullin was the House Republican sponsor in 2018 when the SORH reauthorization bill was last signed into law. Here is the press release from Barrasso’s office and the release from Smith’s office.  


National Rural Health Day Approaching:   
NOSORH is gearing up for the third Thursday of November, November 17, to celebrate National Rural Health Day. NOSORH will be on the Hill during the week of November 14 to help raise awareness of the day and advocate for Congress to pass the SORH reauthorization bill. Look for floor speeches from members of Congress and a resolution introduced discussing the importance of rural health.   


Congress Passes Short-Term Funding Extension: 
On September 29th, 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.