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, 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 see every day—an epidemic of students in classrooms dealing with anxiety, depression and other serious mental health conditions, with nowhere to turn. Meeting LGBTQ+ students where they already are—in school—helps us break down the stigma they might face and get kids the health care they need.” “Accessing mental health care and support has become increasingly difficult in nearly every state in the country,” said Senator Butler. “Barriers get even more difficult if you are a young person who lacks a supportive community or is fearful of being outed, harassed, or threatened. I am introducing the Pride in Mental Health Act to help equip LGBTQ+ youth with the resources to get the affirming and often life-saving care they need.” LGBTQ+ youth experience disproportionate rates of mental health challenges. A 2023 study found that 54 percent of LGBTQ+ youth reported symptoms of depression, while only 35 percent of heterosexual youth reported similar feelings. LGBTQ+ high school students

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