Latest Releases

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 According to a March 2022 US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, problems include inaccurate or out-of-date information on provider networks.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 the pandemic mental health crisis as providers left their positions or stopped taking new patients due to overload. “Ghost networks sow confusion and frustration among patients who are often in need of immediate care. Patients who lack the time and resources to sift through inaccurate provider directors may ultimately choose to forgo or delay needed health care. Others may be forced to pay out-of-pocket for a provider,” the Senators wrote.   “When patients search for an in-network provider on a company’s website or directory, it is essential that they are given accurate and up-to-date information,” the Senators continued. Supporting groups include The Kennedy Forum, Mental Health America, American Psychological Association, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Treatment Advocacy Center, and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In November, Senator Smith introduced legislation with Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to strengthen mental health care coverage, crack down on ghost networks and create stronger

U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Colleagues Re-Introduce Bill to Expand Affordable Housing Access for Low-Income Families

WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, joined a group of five Senate colleagues in re-introducing legislation to improve the federal government’s largest rental assistance program.  The bipartisan Choice in Affordable Housing Act would make it easier to access Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV), also known as Section 8 vouchers, and attract and retain landlords to the program.  As a result, low-income families will have increased housing choices and improved access to high-opportunity neighborhoods. The bill is led by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and is cosponsored in the Senate by Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).  The bill has been introduced in the House by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) “Without access to a safe, affordable place to live, it’s nearly impossible to find a job, manage your health, or engage with your community,” said Senator Smith. “But right now, virtually every Minnesota community has a shortage of quality, affordable housing.  That’s deeply troubling.  This bipartisan legislation would help increase affordable housing options in communities across the country.  I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this bill passed.” “From my years serving Delaware as County Executive and Council President, I’ve seen firsthand the positive, life-changing impact that access to a decent, safe, affordable home can have for those trying to provide for their family,” said Senator Coons. “That’s why Senator Cramer and

Klobuchar, Smith Secure Significant Federal Funding to Expand and Upgrade I-94 in Wright County

WASHINGTON –  U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured $3 million in federal funding through the Fiscal Year 2023 budget to expand and upgrade a stretch of the Interstate 94 (I-94) highway in Wright County.  “This federal funding will help expand and upgrade I-94, improving safety and mobility on this critical route. I am proud to have worked with local leaders to secure this funding, and I know that these resources will make a real difference for so many communities,” said Klobuchar. “The I-94 expansion project will improve access to the Interstate and reduce

U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Transparency For Those Looking to Purchase Popular Long-Term Savings Vehicles Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) announced her bipartisan legislation with Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) to help provide transparency for consumers looking to purchase popular, long-term savings vehicles was signed into law as part of the bipartisan government funding bill. The law will help ensure that investors considering purchasing Registered Index Linked Annuities (RILAs) get clear and direct information that promotes investor understanding. “It’s more important than ever for consumers to have clear and concise information about their investments,” said Smith. “This legislation would help consumers looking to purchase RILAs by providing clear information about their potential investments

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

U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s Bills to Reduce the Cost of Prescription Drugs and Expand Access to Health Care Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. [1/13/23] — More than half a dozen health care bills by U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) were signed into law by President Biden two weeks ago.  The measures will take important steps to lower the cost of prescription drugs, address public health workforce shortages, and shore up supply chains while creating good-paying American jobs. Most of the provisions were bipartisan.  “Since my first day in office, I’ve promised Minnesotans that I would work to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and expand access to health care,” said Sen. Smith. “These measures provide the tools to make significant progress on