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 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 Americans. Daniel Gillison, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Laurel Stine, Vice President of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), joined the Senators in announcing the launch. U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are also members of the caucus. “I believe that everyone should have access to quality mental health care, regardless of insurance, ZIP code, or age,” said Senator Smith. “Mental health care isn’t a partisan issue – it’s something that affects Americans in red states and blue states alike. Today’s launch represents a renewed commitment and focus to collaborate on bipartisan legislation and solutions. I’m looking forward to working alongside my colleagues to continue to tackle the mental health care crisis in this country.” “Our nation has long faced mounting mental health challenges that have touched the lives of all Americans, but we know there are bipartisan

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 receive care,” said Daines. “Expanded telehealth services help relieve this burden and give folks increased access to quality, affordable care. Now is not the time to cut back on these critical services, and I’ll keep working to ensure Montanans are able to see the providers they need.” To help reduce risks associated with visiting medical providers during the pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded the types of health care providers who receive reimbursement for telehealth services. The Expanded Telehealth Access Act makes permanent the reimbursement eligibility for physical therapists, audiologists, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists and permits the Secretary of Health and Human services to expand this list.

Senators Tina Smith, Jerry Moran Push to Lower Cost of Cancer Treatments

WASHINGTON, D.C. [6.15.23] – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure cancer patients who receive oral medications are not hit with thousands of dollars in unaffordable out-of-pocket costs that health plans routinely cover for patients receiving traditional IV chemotherapy treatments. Their Cancer Drug Parity Act responds to the recent improvements in oral medications for cancer by preventing insurers from charging cancer patients higher copayments for those medications than for chemotherapy medicine delivered intravenously. An estimated 2 million Americans will be are diagnosed with cancer this year.  A study on patients prescribed oral cancer

Senator Tina Smith Continues Fight to Improve Mental Health Services for Students

WASHINGTON, D.C. [6.9.23] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) continued her fight to improve mental health access for students by reintroducing legislation to strengthen school-based mental health services for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The Mental Health Services for Students Act would help schools partner with local mental health providers to establish on-site mental health services for students. It would also provide training for school personnel on how to recognize, assist and refer students who may need mental health support. The legislation is co-led by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and cosponsored by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Catherine Cortez

Senator Smith Reintroduces Bill to Address America’s Maternal Mortality Crisis

WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senator Tina Smith introduced legislation to address America’s worsening maternal mortality crisis, which has a disproportionate impact on Black, Brown, Indigenous and all People of Color. The Data to Save Moms Act seeks to understand the root causes of this emergency by improving data collection on maternal mortality and morbidity. From 2018 to 2021, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. increased by 89%. The crisis is even more acute for Black, Native and Indigenous women, who are more than twice as likely to die due to a pregnancy-related complication as white women. “I do

Senator Smith Reintroduces Legislation to Provide Free Emergency Insulin on Rx Companies’ Dime

WASHINGTON [5.11.23] – This week, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) reintroduced legislation to hold insulin manufacturers accountable for excessive increases in the price of life-sustaining insulin. The Emergency Access to Insulin Act would provide emergency access to insulin for people in Minnesota and across the country who can’t afford the skyrocketing price of the drug that they need to stay alive. “Over a million people are rationing their insulin so they can afford it. And sometimes, they are paying with their lives,” said Sen. Smith. “This bill will allow states to set up a program to provide insulin on an