Health Care

Senator Smith believes that every person deserves affordable, high-quality health care. As a member of the Senate Health Committee and a leader in the bipartisan Rural Health Caucus, Sen. Smith is fighting to protect, improve, and expand comprehensive health care coverage for Minnesotans.

A top priority for Sen. Smith is addressing the high cost of health care. Too many Minnesotans are burdened by the high cost of their health care coverage, and others are going without insurance or prescription medications. Sen. Smith is working with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the underlying issues that make health care expensive, starting with the high price of prescription drugs.

While working to make health care more affordable, Sen. Smith is also working to ensure that every Minnesotan has access to mental health care, which she believes is an essential part of comprehensive health coverage. She is working to enforce federal laws that require equitable coverage of mental health and medical care, and she is fighting for expanded access to mental health services across the age continuum.

Sen. Smith also opposes any efforts to limit coverage for Minnesotans, slash Medicaid or Medicare, deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions, and interfere with a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health care. Minnesotans and people across this country rely on their health coverage, and believes that any attempt to take that away is unacceptable.

Finally, Sen. Smith is a champion for rural communities, who face unique barriers that limit their access to quality, affordable health care. As co-chair of the bipartisan Rural Health Caucus, Sen. Smith is working with her colleagues to eliminate the health disparities between rural and urban communities.

Latest Releases

U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Chris Murphy and Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán Introduce Legislation to Improve Conditions Exacerbating Health Inequities Among Black, Brown, Indigenous and People of Color

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.-44) introduced legislation to study and address how social, environmental, and economic conditions exacerbate health inequities in Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color. These conditions, known as social determinants of health (SDOH), are the result of institutional racism embedded in our society including in housing, employment, education, health care and more. While it’s often believed that good health is only due to medical care, one estimate found that clinical treatment accounts for only 10 to 20 percent of an individual’s overall health. Meanwhile, around 80 to 90 percent of healthy outcomes are driven by social determinants. “For many Black, Brown, Indigenous and people of color, health outcomes like chronic disease and overall longevity are determined by factors out of their control, often rooted in institutional racism and lasting inequities. Supporting healthy families and communities means more than just access tomedical care – it’s also having a safe place to call home, jobs, adequate food and more,” said Senator Smith. “This legislation will help us chart a better path forward to rectify historical injustices and ensure everyone has the chance to live a healthy life.” “When you don’t have a safe, stable place to live, or you can’t find affordable, nutritious food in your neighborhood, you’re more likely to develop chronic health issues that cost you thousands in medical bills. These structural inequities disproportionately impact communities of color and can have really devastating consequences for peoples’ health. I’m glad to team up with Senator Smith on this legislation to make a worthwhile investment in helping communities create healthy environments and improve long-term health outcomes,” said

Sen. Smith joins Dem Women’s Caucus, House and Senate Democrats, in Demanding Health Insurers Fully Cover Birth Control, As Required by the ACA 

Washington, DC — Today, Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC) Chair Lois Frankel (FL-22), Reps. Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Kathy Manning (NC-6), and Judy Chu (CA-28), led over 150 House and Senate Democratic colleagues in urging health insurers to fully comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraception coverage requirement. Specifically, the members urged insurers to adopt a “therapeutic equivalence standard” ensuring coverage—without cost sharing—of every FDA-approved birth control product that does not have a therapeutic equivalent (generic). The letter comes after years of systemic noncompliance by insurance plans, forcing women to pay out of pocket or face administrative red tape to access the birth control that works best for them. “We write to express our concerns that your members are not complying with the Affordable Care Act contraception coverage requirement, and to urge them to consider immediate adoption of the therapeutic equivalence standard outlined by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury on January 22, 2024,” wrote the lawmakers in a letter toAmerica’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)—whose membership includes major health insurers across the country—and UnitedHealth Group. Despite the ACA’s protections, the members outlined how multiple investigations—including by the House Oversight Committee, “have revealed that plans routinely violate the ACA by refusing to cover certain products, imposing administrative hurdles like prior authorizations and step therapy (fail first protocols), and requiring patient cost-sharing.” In response to these violations, the Biden Administration recently released additional guidance, outlining a standard that requires coverage

U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Cassidy, Cardin, Thune Reintroduce Bill to Remove Barriers to Telemental Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined her colleagues Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA),  John Thune (R-SD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) to reintroduce the bipartisan Telemental Health Care Access Act to remove barriers to telemental health services for Medicare beneficiaries. Specifically, the bill removes the requirement that Medicare beneficiaries be seen in person within six months of being treated for mental health services through telehealth. In 2020, Congress permanently expanded access for Medicare patients to be treated virtually for mental health services. Unfortunately, it also included an arbitrary requirement that would require the patient to be seen in-person before they could receive telemental services. The Telemental

U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Tom Cotton Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Boost U.S. Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to reduce dependence on foreign pharmaceutical manufacturing and boost production in the U.S.   The pandemic exposed our nation’s dependence on other countries for essential prescription drugs. Seventy-seven percent of key pharmaceutical ingredients come from overseas, including from China, threatening the security of the supply chain and leading to shortages of essential prescription drugs. The American Made Pharmaceuticals Act would reduce our dependence on foreign countries for pharmaceuticals by boosting production here at home. The legislation would create federal incentives to onshore manufacturing of essential medicine, while taking

U.S. Senators Smith, Padilla, Tillis, Ernst Launch Bipartisan Mental Health Caucus

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) announced the launch of their bipartisan Senate Mental Health Caucus. Amidst a national mental health crisis, the Senate Mental Health Caucus will serve as a forum for Senators to collaborate on and promote bipartisan legislation and solutions, hold events to raise awareness of critical mental health issues, and destigmatize mental health. The caucus will work to improve prevention and early intervention efforts, expand the country’s mental health professional workforce, enhance our nation’s crisis response services, and increase access to evidence-based mental health treatment and common-sense solutions for all

Senators Smith, Daines Renew Push to Permanently Expand Telehealth Services

Washington – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Steve Daines (R-MT) reintroduced their bipartisan Expanded Telehealth Access Act to make pandemic-driven expanded access to certain telehealth services under Medicare permanent. “The pandemic showed us that telehealth services are a lifeline for patients across Minnesota who may otherwise not be able to access the health care they need,” said Smith. “This legislation will ensure that patients who access physical and occupational therapists, audiologists, and speech language pathologists via telehealth can continue to get those services reimbursed permanently.” “In rural states like Montana, folks often have to drive long distances just to

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