Creating Opportunity and Building Wealth in Rural America – House Budget Committee

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The COVID-19 pandemic upended our way of life, our communities, and our economy, embroiling our nation in a public health crisis and setting off an economic downturn like the U.S. had never seen before. Families nationwide – in rural and urban areas alike – were left wondering how they would pay their bills, find care for their children, and provide for their families as major sectors of our economy shut down and millions lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Families of all types of backgrounds face hardships in the wake of COVID-19, but rural families experienced unique difficulties brought on by decades of underinvestment in these communities.

To ensure a full recovery in rural America, the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats are addressing longstanding problems facing rural communities, including a shortage of health care services, limited public transportation, a lack of affordable internet options, inadequate weatherization and climate resilience, and older and unreliable energy infrastructure. Since President Biden took office, Democrats have enacted the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2022. Together these investments will help revive rural America and provide the foundation these communities need to build a better, stronger future.

HEALTH: ARP provided rural areas with funding to beat the pandemic, but Democrats have gone farther, delivering significant and targeted investments to improve and expand access to health care. For example, ARP helped to educate and train health professionals to fill job vacancies across the country, delivering care to hard-to-reach places.

Democrats provided the following health investments through ARP without a single Republican vote:

  • $8.5 billion to help rural health providers keep their doors open and respond to COVID-19 through Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  • $823 million to support COVID-19 testing and mitigation efforts across 4,200 rural health clinics and more than 1,500 small rural hospitals. Additionally, Democrats provided $100 million to support vaccine outreach efforts in those rural health clinics.
  • $350 million for the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program, which increased access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing, medical supplies, telehealth, and food assistance. This funding can also be used to support construction or renovation of rural health care facilities. Another $125 million in grants will improve the long-term …….