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, 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

Sen. Smith joins Dem Women’s Caucus, House and Senate Democrats, in Demanding Health Insurers Fully Cover Birth Control, As Required by the ACA 

Washington, DC — Today, Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC) Chair Lois Frankel (FL-22), Reps. Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Kathy Manning (NC-6), and Judy Chu (CA-28), led over 150 House and Senate Democratic colleagues in urging health insurers to fully comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraception coverage requirement. Specifically, the members urged insurers to adopt a “therapeutic equivalence standard” ensuring coverage—without cost sharing—of every FDA-approved birth control product that does not have a therapeutic equivalent (generic). The letter comes after years of systemic noncompliance by insurance plans, forcing women to pay out of pocket or face administrative red tape to access the birth control that works best for them. “We write to express our concerns that your members are not complying with the Affordable Care Act contraception coverage requirement, and to urge them to consider immediate adoption of the therapeutic equivalence standard outlined by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury on January 22, 2024,” wrote the lawmakers in a letter toAmerica’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)—whose membership includes major health insurers across the country—and UnitedHealth Group. Despite the ACA’s protections, the members outlined how multiple investigations—including by the House Oversight Committee, “have revealed that plans routinely violate the ACA by refusing to cover certain products, imposing administrative hurdles like prior authorizations and step therapy (fail first protocols), and requiring patient cost-sharing.” In response to these violations, the Biden Administration recently released additional guidance, outlining a standard that requires coverage

U.S. Senators Smith, Braun Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Address Big Pharma Ploy That Keeps Drug Prices High for Consumers

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Braun (R-IN), reintroduced bipartisan legislation to address a big pharma ploy that prevents access to affordable prescription drugs for millions of people across the country. The Expanding Access to Low-Cost Generics Act—which was the first piece of Senate legislation introduced by Sen. Smith in 2018—addresses an anti-competitive prescription drug practice called “parking.” “Parking” occurs when a brand name manufacturer agrees not to sue the first company that submits an application to create a generic version of that drug—a so-called “first filer”—as long as the generic company agrees to delay bringing

U.S. Senators Smith, Murkowski, Hassan Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Mental Health Care Workforce

WASHINGTON [2.23.23] – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) reintroduced their bipartisan legislation to strengthen the mental health workforce in the face of shortages. The Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act would repay up to $250,000 in eligible student loan repayment for mental health professionals who work in mental health professional shortage areas. Sen. Smith has shared her own mental health journey from the Senate floor—and again in an op-ed last week in the wake of news that Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) was seeking treatment for depression —in hopes of breaking

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Pushes Attorney General Garland to Quickly Appeal Likely Verdict in Key Medication Abortion Case

WASHINGTON [2/22/2023] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland in anticipation of a U.S. District Court ruling that would prevent essential, lifesaving reproductive health care for millions of women. In her letter, Smith urges Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice to quickly appeal the case should the decision undermine access to medication abortion in any way. The case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration et al, challenges the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to approve mifepristone, a safe and effective abortion medication. This

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

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