Research / Government Operations


Policy Analysis | November 2019

Federal Analysis: Rural Health Agenda

Nick Bowman, Research and Publications Associate

Rural hospitals have struggled to remain solvent in recent years. Since January 2010, 81 rural hospitals have closed in the SLC region. State and federal policy makers are working to mitigate this trend and promote the work of rural hospitals.* At the federal level, the recently introduced Rural Health Agenda offers potential assistance for rural hospitals and residents.

On July 31, 2019, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (TN) introduced the Rural Health Agenda in the Senate to support the provision of rural healthcare. The agenda includes the Rural America Health Corps Act, Telehealth Across State Lines Act of 2019 and Rural Health Innovation Act of 2019. The three bills were each read twice and referred to the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

On October 29, 2019, U.S. Representative Phil Roe (TN) introduced companion bills for the Rural America Health Corps Act and Telehealth Across State Lines Act of 2019 in the House of Representatives. Both bills were referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee; the latter was also referred to the Ways and Means Committee. That same day, U.S. Representative David Kustoff (TN) introduced a companion bill for the Rural Health Innovation Act of 2019, which was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The information provided is a summary of the three bills comprising the Rural Health Agenda. As the bills are in committee, they are subject to change. All information is current as of November 19, 2019.

Rural America Health Corps Act

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Response for Rural Hospitals: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow:

"I suspect many legislators, including myself, avoid healthcare issues because of their complexity. This research makes it feel more manageable. Wow, just wow! That was an amazing undertaking on the part of the SLC. Thanks for your hard work."

SLC Regional Resource | November 2019

Rural Hospitals: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Nick Bowman

With decreasing rural populations and changing federal regulations, many rural hospitals have struggled to maintain financial viability in recent years. In 2017, 6,210 total hospitals operated in the United States; 2,250, of these are rural hospitals. Nationally, 113 rural hospitals have closed since January 2010. Furthermore, the rate of rural hospital closures from 2013 to 2017 was twice as high as the rate of the previous five years. In January 2010, SLC member states had approximately 831 rural hospitals. Since then, 81 rural hospitals (9.7 percent) in the South have closed.

This SLC Regional Resource examines the unique circumstances facing rural hospitals and communities today, including healthcare regulations and recent federal actions aimed at directing greater financial support toward rural healthcare providers, followed by a review of legislation adopted in the 15 SLC member states addressing rural health, rural hospitals and their challenges.


Policy Analysis | September 2019

The Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: A Historic Perspective

Nick Bowman, Research and Publications Associate

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution, would guarantee equal rights to all Americans regardless of sex. The amendment was written by Alice Paul of New Jersey and Crystal Eastman of Massachusetts and introduced at the Woman’s Rights Convention in 1923, two years after ratification of the 19th amendment, providing women the right to vote. The ERA passed the U.S. House of Representatives on October 12, 1971, and the U.S. Senate on March 22, 1972.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution states that “the Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof.” With 50 states in the Union, the Constitution is amended when 38 states ratify an amendment.

The text of the ERA reads:
“Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.”

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2019-2020
Chair

Representative
Penny Houston

Georgia

2019-2020
Vice Chair
Representative John Read, Mississippi

Representative
John Read

Mississippi

Immediate
Past Chair

(former) Representative
Eric Johnson

Texas

Committee
Liaison
Cody Allen

Cody Allen
Policy Analyst


Since its creation, members of the SLC Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee have focused on the myriad fiscal issues impacting state budgets and finances. Committee appointees include many of the finance and appropriations chairs from across the South along with other prominent fiscal players. The committee routinely examines the impact of the federal budget on state finances; state revenues and expenditures; national and regional economic outlooks; historical and developing fiscal trends; performance-based budgeting; e-commerce and taxation; and public pension plans. For more than 40 years, select fiscal research departments in the SLC member state legislatures have continued to provide annual Comparative Data Reports (CDRs), tracking revenue sources, appropriations levels, performance measures, and a multitude of other metrics in Southern states. A useful tool for legislators and legislative staff alike, CDRs are available for adult correctional systems, education, Medicaid and transportation.

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