NRHA statement on President Biden’s FY 2024 Budget
The National Rural Health Association is pleased with the Biden Administration's fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget proposal to help build a strong rural health infrastructure across the country. NRHA applauds the administration for including critical investments to increase rural health care access, workforce recruitment, and address rural health disparities.
President Biden released his FY 2024 budget, formally beginning the appropriations process for the 2024 federal budget. Overall, NRHA is pleased with President Biden’s budget and funding levels for rural health programs. The President’s budget request includes an increase in funding for health programs across the board including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The President’s budget increase in funding make significant investments in the rural health infrastructure and workforce. New proposals of note include:
New - $30 million to help sustain rural hospitals, $20 million of which is for the Rural Hospital Stabilization Pilot Program. This pilot program provides support to at-risk rural hospitals to enhance and or expand needed service lines in order to improve long-term rural hospital viability. The remaining $10 million is for the new Financial and Community Sustainability for At-Risk Rural Hospitals Program, which will target rural hospitals at-risk for imminent closure in order to provide immediate technical assistance to avoid closure.
New - $10 million for the Rural Health Clinic Behavioral Health Initiative. This proposed initiative was included in the President’s FY 23 budget but was not included in the FY 23 omnibus. This initiative allows clinics in rural areas where there are no existing behavioral health providers to fund the salary of a behavioral health provider, address provider burnout, and expand the availability of services such as mental health screenings, counseling, and therapy.
The budget includes funding for NRHA priorities including maternal health, behavioral health, Medicare, Medicaid, workforce and nutrition. In addition to funding, the President’s budget included new projects including requiring states to provide 12 months of Medicaid postpartum coverage; permanently extending Medicaid coverage to low-income individuals; an expansion of Medicare to cover nutrition and obesity counseling; and an increase in discretionary funding for the Indian Health Service.
The President’s budget is the starting point for Congressional budget debates. Appropriations negotiations and Committee markups will now begin on Capitol Hill based on the numbers provided by the President. NRHA supports funding and maintaining a strong public health and rural health infrastructure in the United States and is committed to fully funding the rural health safety net in 2023. Please reach out to the Government Affairs team with any questions.