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, 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 or behavioral health care they need, and providers struggle to provide that care because they don’t get reimbursed enough for their services.” said Senator Smith. “This bill will improve equity in mental and behavioral health care by helping patients access the care that they need and ensuring providers get paid fairly. I want anyone suffering from a mental health issue to know they are not alone. We can all help break the stigma by talking about it, and then we have to go to work to get people the services they need.” “We should treat health care above the neck the same way we treat health care below the neck. Currently, too many folks don’t have access to affordable behavioral health care in our country. Senator Smith and I introduced this bill to help close the gap in services and help people get the care they need,” said Senator Stabenow. “Mental and behavioral health services should be readily

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 outcomes like chronic disease and overall longevity are determined by factors out of their control, often rooted in institutional racism and lasting inequities. Supporting healthy families and communities means more than just access tomedical care – it’s also having a safe place to call home, jobs, adequate food and more,” said Senator Smith. “This legislation will help us chart a better path forward to rectify historical injustices and ensure everyone has the chance to live a healthy life.” “When you don’t have a safe, stable place to live, or you can’t find affordable, nutritious food in your neighborhood, you’re more likely to develop chronic health issues that cost you thousands in medical bills. These structural inequities disproportionately impact communities of color and can have really devastating consequences for peoples’ health. I’m glad to team up with Senator Smith on this legislation to make a worthwhile investment in helping communities create healthy environments and improve long-term health outcomes,” said

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

Senators Smith, Rounds Lead Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Mental Health Services in Rural America

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)  reintroduced legislation to improve access to mental health and substance use services. The Home-Based Telemental Health Care Act of 2023 would establish a grant program for health providers to expand telemental health services in rural areas and for individuals working in the farming, forestry and fishing industries. “When I experienced depression, resources were there for me. But right now, too many people don’t have access to the mental or behavioral health care they need, and that’s especially true in rural communities,” said Smith. “Our bipartisan bill will help health