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. Senator Tina Smith’s Legislation to Tackle Drug Shortages, Improve Public Health Preparedness Advances Through Key Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. [8.4.23] –U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that two of her legislative priorities, aimed at addressing drug shortages and improving public health preparedness, took a major step forward.  “Drug shortages are hurting patients, pharmacists, and physicians across the country,” said Senator Smith. “I have heard directly from Minnesotans who are facing shortages of ADHD medications like Adderall, cancer-fighting drugs for chemotherapy, among other things.  These drug shortages can be life-threatening, and I’ve made it a priority to tackle this problem. In addition, I’m focused on ensuring we are prepared for future public health threats. My bipartisan legislation will improve the FDA’s responsiveness when medication demand outpaces the supply, and help improve our ability to rapidly develop and distribute diagnostic tests in the event of a disease outbreak.  I’m glad to see these priorities included in this important legislation.” The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Response Act is essential legislation that reauthorizes key public health and emergency preparedness programs. Current funding expires on September 30th. Millions of Americans have been affected by shortages of chemotherapy drugs, commonly-used antibiotics, pediatric formulations of medications like ibuprofen, and other essential drugs. Pieces of Senator Smith’s legislation, which have been included in the reauthorization, will help address these shortages and bolster public health preparedness. Senator Smith’s provisions include:

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Reintroduces Legislation to Expand Access to Lifesaving HIV Prevention Drugs

WASHINGTON, D.C. [6.29.23] – This month, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representative Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that will expand access to lifesaving HIV prevention medications. The PrEP Access and Coverage Act addresses the underutilization of HIV prevention drugs – known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) – by ensuring these medications and any associated costs are covered by health insurance. The measure also establishes community public health campaigns, and it expands access to the drugs for uninsured individuals and underserved communities. “Every person deserves access to affordable, high quality health care,” said Sen. Smith. “Too many people in Minnesota and across this country are unduly burdened by the high costs of HIV prevention drugs, and many others are going without this lifesaving preventative medication. This bill takes an important step towards ensuring that these highly effective medications are accessible and affordable for every patient who needs them.” “HIV prevention drugs shouldn’t be inaccessible and unaffordable,” said Rep. Schiff. “Senator Smith and I are reintroducing the PrEP Access and Coverage Act so that LGBTQ Americans – especially those from communities of color who experience disparities in health care – have access to the HIV medications and services they need.” “To end the HIV epidemic by 2030, we must expand our efforts to improve PrEP education and access,” said Torrian L. Baskerville, Director of HIV & Health Equity for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. “It is especially critical to address decades-long inequities that disproportionately impact Black

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Reintroduces Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Coordination Between HHS and Urban Indian Organizations

WASHINGTON, [02.21.23] – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would help federal programs – from substance use treatment to Medicare and Medicaid – meet the unique needs of Indigenous communities and improve care. The Urban Indian Health Confer Act would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to confer with urban Indian organizations regarding health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) living in urban areas – a critical step that will improve care for Indigenous communities and create parity between urban Indian organizations (UIOs) and other components of the

U.S. Senator Tina Smith and Rep. Cori Bush Re-Introduce Legislation to Protect Access to Medication Abortion

WASHINGTON [2.2.23] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and U.S. Representative Cori Bush (D-MO) re-introduced a bill to defend access to medication abortion in states where the right to an abortion still exists. The Protecting Access to Medication Abortion Act 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 23 years since its approval, evidence has shown that mifepristone can be prescribed to patients without an in-person

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Seeks Answers From Insurance Companies on Mental Health Care “Ghost Networks”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) led a bipartisan letter to Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, and United Healthcare regarding “ghost networks” that make it difficult for patients to find in-network providers. According to a March 2022 US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, problems include inaccurate or out-of-date information on provider networks. Ghost networks occur when providers are listed as in-network on an insurer’s website but are no longer in-network, accepting new patients, or even in business. The problem of ghost networks is especially prevalent in mental health care and worsened during

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces Significant Federal Funding for Tribal Nations and the Native Community in the Twin Cities

WASHINGTON D.C. [1/13/23] –– U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced that she helped secure over $8.6 million for Minnesota Tribal Nations and communities in the Twin Cities metro area. These funds will support the Lower Sioux Indian Community, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Prairie Island Indian Community, the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, and the Native American Community Clinic. Senator Klobuchar also worked to secure this funding. “For too long, Native communities have experienced negative impacts of federal underinvestment and underfunding of critical services. I’m proud to have worked with Tribal leaders to help