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

Sen. Smith Announces Significant Investment in Minnesota Youth Mental Health Programs

WASHINGTON [9.13.22] –Today, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that Minnesota will receive at least $800,000 in youth mental health grants. The grants – aimed at addressing increasing youth mental health conditions – are made possible through funding from the American Rescue Plan, which Sen. Smith helped pass earlier this year.  “As we continue to address the impacts of COVID-19, another crisis has emerged – the crisis of youth mental health. When I experienced depression, resources were there for me. But right now, too many people don’t have access to the mental health care they need,” said Senator Smith. “These investments in youth mental health programs will help expand access to mental health services and ensure our kids have the resources they need. I’m proud of our efforts to pass the American Rescue Plan, which made these investments possible.”  The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the ongoing youth mental health crisis. A recent survey showed that among adolescents ages 12-17, 12% said they had serious thoughts of suicide, 5.3% made a suicide plan, and 2.5% percent attempted suicide in the past year. Those who experienced a major depressive episode reported they were more likely than those who did not to feel that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected their mental health “quite a bit or a lot.” These grants will go towards enhancing the capacity of mental health organizations to support family members and caregivers who are raising kids with serious emotional disturbance (SED). Funding will also be directed to train school

Senators Smith, Merkley, Colleagues Sound Alarm on Unlawful Charges for PrEP Patients

Washington, D.C. [9.8.22] – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) led a group of their colleagues in a letter pushing health insurance companies to explain their continued practice of unlawfully charging people for PrEP, a popular drug that’s prescribed to prevent HIV. The Senators’ letter follows a deeply flawed court ruling on Wednesday that further threatens access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) on the basis of religious freedom. As the legal process moves forward, the Senators pressed the health insurance industry to abide by current law to provide medication and ancillary services without charge. “It has been brought to our attention that enrollees in your members’ health plans continue to be charged for necessary medications and ancillary services—including provider consultations and laboratory services—contrary to law and additional federal guidance issued by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury,” wrote the Senators. “We write to express our deep concern with these erroneous and unlawful charges, and to request additional information on steps that AHIP is taking to ensure that its members adhere to federal law and ensure the PrEP drugs and the full scope of PrEP ancillary services are offered without charge to enrollees.” A 2019 ruling by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) gave PrEP an “A” rating as prevention intervention for people at risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This ruling brought PrEP under section 2713 of the Public Health Service Act, which requires insurance coverage for services or interventions that have

Senators Smith, Booker Introduce Legislation to Affirm Federal Regulation of Reproductive Health Products

WASHINGTON, D.C. [8.2.22] – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced legislation that affirms the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) long standing preemptive authority over state law for all FDA-approved reproductive health products, including drugs used in medication abortion. The U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause prohibits states from interfering with the federal government’s power to regulate drugs. The Protecting National Access to Reproductive Care Act codifies this preemptive power and the Department of Justice’s authority to enforce federal laws and regulations. It also provides private individuals, and health care providers an avenue to sue states with laws

Smith, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Allow Use of U.S. Foreign Assistance for Abortion Care Oversees

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined a group of her colleagues in introducing legislation that would allow U.S. foreign assistance to be used to provide the full scope of comprehensive health care, including safe and legal access to abortion services. The Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act, led by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), would repeal the 1973 Helms Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act and clarify that under U.S. government policy, safe abortion care is a critical component of comprehensive maternal and reproductive care. “Abortion care is a fundamental component of comprehensive reproductive health care and

The Fight for Reproductive Rights

It’s been nearly one month since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and I’ve had some time to reflect on what this decision means for our country. When I was just 15 years old, Roe v. Wade established that women have a constitutional right to autonomy over our bodies. During my time at Planned Parenthood, I saw firsthand how controlling your own health care allows you to make the best decisions about the course of your life – your education, your work and your family. Now, I have watched the extremist Supreme Court take away these rights, stripping away 50 years of

U.S. Senators Smith, Murray, and Warren Introduce Legislation to Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. [07/19/22]—Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led a group of their Democratic colleagues in introducing the Expanding Access to Family Planning Act. The bill would protect access to critical reproductive health care services—like birth control, cancer screenings and more—by providing a consistent and strong source of funding for the Title X Family Planning Program. The Title X Family Planning Program is the only federal program dedicated to providing comprehensive family planning and preventive health services. Hundreds of thousands of Americans