Healthcare

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

Sens. Smith, Marshall Introduce Bipartisan Legislation Reduce Delays in Bringing Safe Eye Drops, Sunscreen to Market

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) introduced bipartisan legislation to clarify the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate “combination products” – products that meet both the definition of drugs and devices. The bill would eliminate unnecessary confusion and turmoil in the industry and free up valuable time and resources within the FDA. “Our regulatory process around medical products should be clear and transparent,” said Senator Smith. “This bipartisan legislation would help clarify the FDA’s authority to regulate things like sunscreen, eye drops, and other ‘combination products’ so the agency can focus on important work like bringing low-cost products to market and improving public health.” “For decades, the FDA’s regulatory framework has provided appropriate oversight of drugs,” said Senator Marshall. “Unfortunately, this court decision has a far-reaching impact on the future of certain essential products physicians rely on to detect cancer, treat eye conditions, and more. I’m proud to join Senator Smith in introducing bipartisan legislation that reinforces the FDA’s longstanding processes that have made it a global leader in approving safe and effective medical products.”   The FDA has long taken the view that they have the discretion to regulate combination products including radioactive drugs, eye drops, and sunscreen as drugs. However, under a court decision – Genus Medical Technologies v. FDA – the agency is required to regulate these products as devices, which is a different and potentially more burdensome process. Transitioning to this new regulatory standard will take valuable time and resources away from other activities, like bringing

Klobuchar, Smith Announce Major Federal Funding to Establish New Antiviral Drug Development Center at University of Minnesota

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced significant federal funding to establish a new Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Center for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern at the University of Minnesota (UMN).  The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will provide $66.4 million in federal funding over three years for the University of Minnesota to house a new center for researching and developing coronavirus antivirals, especially those that can be taken at home or in an outpatient setting, and treatments targeting specific viruses with high potential to cause a pandemic in the future. UMN was only one of nine institutions across the country selected, and will be the only center in the Midwest.  “The University of Minnesota has long been a national leader in pioneering medical research and advancing innovation, from housing pioneering professor Charles Hewitt’s vaccine lab, to performing the world’s first kidney transplant to installing the first pacemaker,” said Klobuchar. “It’s only fitting that the University has been chosen to host this new institute for researching and developing antiviral drugs that can be taken outside the hospital setting, which will be critical to strengthening our response to infectious diseases and future pandemics.”  “Minnesota’s colleges and universities are hubs of innovation,” said Smith. “I’m pleased to see the University of Minnesota receive this award, which will establish a cutting edge antiviral drug research and development center. UMN has a long track record of scientific success and innovation. I’m confident this new

Senator Tina Smith Joins Colleagues Calling Out Drug Manufacturers For Squeezing American Families With Rapid, Widespread Price Hikes on Prescription Drugs

Washington, D.C. — United States Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) joined a group of Senate and House colleagues in a letter to the CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) expressing concern over findings from two new analyses that reveal troubling, widespread, and rapid price increases for brand name drugs in January 2022.  “The large, across-the-board price increases of popular, brand name prescription drugs appear to be an example of pharmaceutical companies taking advantage of their abusive market power to expand already-large profits. And the coordinated and timely price increases ring of political opportunism,” the lawmakers wrote. The

In Floor Speech, U.S. Senator Tina Smith Makes Impassioned Case for Federal Legislation Protecting Reproductive Health Freedoms

WASHINGTON, [2.28.22] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) delivered a speech from the Senate floor urging her colleagues to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would protect the freedom of all Americans to receive the reproductive health care they need, including abortion. As reproductive rights face their greatest challenge since Roe v. Wade was decided decades ago, Senator Smith called on her colleagues to pass federal legislation protecting the freedom of every American to make their own decisions regarding their health, their families, and their future. You can access a video of Sen. Smith’s remarks here. You can read

Klobuchar, Smith, Bipartisan Group of Colleagues Urge Extension of Pandemic Telehealth Services

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) joined 45 of their colleagues in a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging congressional leaders to include an extension for expanded telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries. This telehealth service expansion began during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing patients nationwide to access telehealth services from a wider range of eligible health care providers.  “We strongly support permanently expanding Medicare coverage of telehealth and removing other barriers to the use of telehealth because of its ability to expand access to care, reduce costs, and improve health outcomes. While Congress prepares to enact permanent telehealth

U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Susan Collins, Cory Booker, and Lisa Murkowski Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Rebuild Public Health Workforce Amidst Shortages

WASHINGTON, [1.14.22] – Last night, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minnesota), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced bipartisan legislation to reinforce and expand our public health workforce amidst significant shortages. Their legislation, the Strengthening the Public Health Workforce Act, would help restore the public health workforce at the state, local, and Tribal level to support the COVID-19 response effort. These measures are particularly urgent given the current state of our public health sector; according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, there is a nationwide shortage of 80,000 public health professionals. This bill is endorsed by

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