Franken named Rural Health Care Legislator of the YearPublished 9:23am Friday, September 16, 2011
In recognition of U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s continued efforts to ensure that Minnesotans in rural communities receive the quality medical care they deserve, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health has named him the 2011 Legislator of the Year. Franken’s selection was announced this week during the organization’s annual conference in Denver.
“I firmly believe that everyone should have access to high quality health care, no matter where they live,” Franken said. “Minnesota’s rural communities face unique challenges when it comes to making health care available to their residents and it’s important that we meet those challenges. I am honored to accept this award and will continue to work to ensure that all of our communities have the resources they need to provide quality care.”
Franken is a member of three panels — the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Indian Affairs Committees and the Senate Rural Health Caucus — where he has advocated for rural health improvements. He has written and co-sponsored several important rural health bills.
Additionally, he has called on U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to reverse a new interpretation of Medicare rules that puts rural and critical access hospitals at a disadvantage. Franken also joined a bipartisan group of his Senate colleagues in asking Sebelius to appoint rural representatives to key boards that will oversee the implementation of the federal health care reform law.
The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health was created in 1995 to serve as a voice for rural health concerns and to promote a healthy rural America through state and community leadership.
Each year, the organization presents its Legislator of the Year Award to recognize an outstanding legislator for his or her work on, and in support of, rural health initiatives.