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

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

Sens. Smith, Murphy Introduce Bill to Fine Insurance Companies that Skirt Law to Provide Mental Health Coverage

WASHINGTON [9.8.22] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn) introduced legislation that would allow the Department of Labor to levy fines against insurance companies who don’t provide coverage for mental health issues—as they are required to do by law.  This new authority would incentivize compliance and strengthen the protections of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. “We need to treat mental health with the same urgency we treat physical health, and that means making sure everyone has access to the care they need,” said Sen. Smith. “This bill would help make mental health care more accessible and affordable by holding insurance companies accountable when they violate mental health parity requirements. I am proud to introduce this legislation, which will bring us one step closer to ensuring everyone has access to quality, affordable mental health care.” “It’s already the law that insurance companies must cover mental health just like they cover physical health, and yet they’re still finding ways to dodge compliance and deny coverage of care,” said Sen. Murphy.   “This bill would give the Department of Labor new tools to enforce mental health parity laws, incentivize compliance, and hold insurers accountable.” “Empowering our government with tools to hold health plans accountable for equal coverage of mental health and addiction treatment is critical to getting more people on the road to recovery. Most Americans cannot afford to pay for care out of pocket—it’s time we seize the opportunity before us and do what it takes

Sen. Smith Cosponsors Legislation to Protect the Right of Women to Cross State Lines to Seek Abortion Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. [07/12/22] – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) joined a group of her Democratic colleagues, including Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), in introducing the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022. This legislation would make it crystal clear that it is illegal for anti-choice states to limit travel for abortion services and would empower the Attorney General and impacted individuals to bring civil action against those who restrict a woman’s right to cross state lines to receive legal reproductive care. “After successfully overturning Roe and gutting 50

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Responds to the Supreme Court Overturning Roe

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade: “This is a terrible day for America.  Roe v. Wade has been overturned. “For almost 50 years, American women have had the freedom and constitutional right to make their own decisions about abortion. This right respected individual autonomy and the capacity of people to make good, moral decisions about abortion. This activist Supreme Court—and the Republican Senators and President who put them there—have gutted that right, because they think they know better than American women,

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith Announce Extended Postpartum Health Coverage for Minnesotans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced that Minnesota has received approval to extend postpartum coverage for 12 months to individuals enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The extended coverage is made possible by the American Rescue Plan, which Senators Klobuchar and Smith helped pass last year. “We must address our nation’s unacceptably high maternal mortality rates. Having long fought to improve care for new mothers and babies, this issue is personal to me, and it’s personal to moms across our state,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “I pushed for this funding to

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Introduces Legislation to Protect Access to Medication Abortions

WASHINGTON, D.C. [6/23/22]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced a bill to defend access to medication abortion in states where the right to an abortion is still protected. The bill would protect current FDA guidelines so that women can always access medication abortion through telehealth and certified pharmacies, including mail-order pharmacies. Of the one in four American women who will have an abortion, over half will use medication abortion. In the 20 years since its approval, the evidence has shown that medication abortion can be prescribed to patients without an in-person appointment, is safe and effective for people to take