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, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Combat Loneliness Among Seniors

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Marco Rubio and Rick Scott (both R-Fla.) introduced the Social Engagement and Network Initiatives for Older Relief (SENIOR) Act to combat loneliness among American seniors. In 2023, one in three adults aged 50-80 reported feeling isolated from others, including nearly 40 percent reporting they only have contact with people outside their home once per week. Social isolation and loneliness increase seniors’ risk for dementia by some 50 percent—and heart disease and stroke by about 30 percent.  Loneliness is also associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. “People say we can’t combat loneliness through legislation, but I think that’s a ridiculous thing to say. Whether it’s Meals on Wheels or support for caregivers, there are so many different things we can do to support people as they age,” said Senator Smith. “Nobody deserves to feel so alone and isolated that their health suffers, especially seniors. We are more connected now than ever before – yet loneliness endures. We need to invest in programs that will combat loneliness in our older Americans and I’m glad to be leading this charge.” “Seniors across the country are suffering from mental health issues and loneliness. That is why I am introducing the SENIOR Act to support Florida’s seniors by addressing this issue and bringing seniors back into our communities,” said Senator Rubio. “Florida has a wonderful senior population that contributes so much to our great state. Combatting the feeling of isolation and loneliness for our aging community has endless benefits – from better mental and physical health

U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Jerry Moran Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Save Rural Hospitals

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand a lifeline for rural hospitals facing closure. The Rural Emergency Hospital Improvement Act would remove barriers for Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) and rural hospitals to convert to a Rural Emergency Hospital designation under Medicare. These changes would help rural hospitals facing closure to receive federal financial assistance to remain open and serving their communities through emergency stabilizing care and obstetric care, rather than closing and forcing community members to travel further distances for emergency care. In Minnesota, more than one-third of rural health care systems were in the red as of 2019. “Rural hospitals provide health care in areas where it isn’t otherwise easy to access, so when their doors close, communities are left with almost no options, and that’s dangerous. If you’re dealing with a medical emergency or you just went into labor, the last thing on your mind should be whether your local hospital is still open,” said Senator Smith. “This bill is about public safety. It will make sure that if a hospital is in truly dire straits, they can remain open for emergency care – including obstetric care.” “Access to emergency health care saves lives and helps keep rural communities prospering,” said Senator Moran. “Too many rural hospitals in Kansas and across the country are struggling to keep their doors open, and this legislation offers those hospitals a lifeline. The Rural Emergency Hospital designation has already helped save numerous rural hospitals, and expanding access to this successful program is

U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Laphonza Butler Introduce Legislation to Combat LGBTQ+ Mental Health Crisis

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D – Minn.) and Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) — the first Black and openly LGBTQ+ senator to serve in the Senate — led five Senate colleagues in introducing the Pride in Mental Health Act which would strengthen mental health and crisis intervention resources for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth. “Mental health care is health care. And for some LGBTQ+ youth, receiving access to the mental health care they need can mean the difference between living in safety and dignity, and suffering alone through discrimination, bullying, and even violence,” said Senator Smith. “The data shows what many parents and educators

U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Debbie Stabenow, Reps. Paul Tonko, Brian Fitzpatrick, David Trone Reintroduce Legislation Expanding Mental Health Care Access, Increase Medicaid Reimbursement Rate

WASHINGTON – Today,  U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Health Committee, joined by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, to announce reintroduced legislation to expand access to mental health services for low-income families and children, the elderly, and people living with disabilities. The Medicaid Bump Act would increase the federal reimbursement rate for mental and behavioral health care services under Medicaid, which covers one fifth of all Americans with mental health disorders. A House companion bill was introduced by U.S. Representatives Paul D. Tonko (D-NY-20), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) and David Trone (D-MD-06).  “Too many people don’t have access to the mental

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

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