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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 Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Announce New Childcare Facility in Luverne

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), a member of the Senate Education Committee, announced federal funding they secured last year to renovate a vacant facility in Luverne, Minnesota into a childcare center has been disbursed. The project will help the city purchase and renovate a facility into a new center that will accommodate 186 infants, toddlers, preschool, and school-age children. The renovated space will also accommodate staff and administrative spaces, a gymnasium, and food preparation kitchen. “Too often I have heard that parents around the state, including in Rock County, have difficulty finding safe, reliable, and affordable child care in their communities,” said Senator Klobuchar. “We worked to secure a federal grant for Luverne to open a new child care center to serve hundreds of kids and expand options for parents.” “With few options for childcare in this area, working families are put in a serious bind. How can parents work without a safe, affordable place for their kids to go while they are at work?” said Senator Smith. “Luverne is leading the way in creating a community young families will want to live in, and this new facility is a testament to their hard work.” Rock County has over 350 kids below the age of five who need childcare, but capacity for just 240 of them, according to First Children’s Finance. Over the last ten years, almost half of the nearly 60 home child care providers in Rock County have left the field or retired. For some families, it makes more financial sense stay home rather

Following Amendment Push, Smith, Van Hollen, Durbin, Kaine, Schatz & Colleagues Welcome New National Security Memorandum to Ensure U.S. Security Assistance is Used in Line with International Law

The memorandum, modeled off of Senators’ amendment, also requires all countries that receive U.S. security assistance to facilitate U.S.-supported humanitarian aid and creates robust reporting requirements to Congress WASHINGTON – Friday, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and their colleagues welcomed a new National Security Memorandum (NSM) released by the Biden Administration Thursday aimed at ensuring all U.S. security assistance is used in line with international law, including international humanitarian law. The NSM is modeled off of the Senators’ amendment to ensure U.S. security assistance is used in line with international law. Additional cosponsors

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith and Congresswoman Betty McCollum Announce Federal Funding for Energy Efficiency Upgrades in Minnesota

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (Both D-MN) and Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN04) announced federal support to help cities and commercial buildings develop plans to implement energy efficiency and clean energy upgrades across Minnesota. It will also be used to help eligible homeowners install energy efficiency upgrades in their homes, like installing energy efficient furnaces and water heaters or improving insulation and sealing windows, providing them long term cost-savings. The money comes from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure legislation, which both Senators and the Congresswoman voted for in 2021. “Investing in energy efficiency upgrades and clean energy sources can help lower utility bills and our carbon footprint,” said Klobuchar. “With these federal funds, Minnesota businesses and families

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Announce USDA Partnership to Expand, Bolster Minnesota’s Food Supply Chain

WASHINGTON [2/7/2024] – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN), members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced federal funding to strengthen the middle portions of Minnesota’s food supply chain. These funds will help small farms and small food businesses access more customers and help consumers find more locally-grown goods – oftentimes at lower cost. The funding is made possible through the American Rescue Plan, legislation both Klobuchar and Smith supported.  “To keep prices low at the grocery store, we need to invest in our food supply chain to make it resilient from disruptions and bottlenecks,” said Klobuchar. “These grants will strengthen the infrastructure needed to

U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Durbin, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Increase Oversight of the For-Profit College Industry 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined her colleagues Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to reintroduce legislation to establish an interagency committee tasked with improving coordination of federal oversight of for-profit colleges, so that students are not scammed out of an education and into a mountain of debt. The bill, called the Proprietary Education Oversight Task Force Act, would improve enforcement of existing laws and make it easier for students to voice concerns about their experiences with for-profit colleges. “Students should be protected from predatory institutions that will leave them with thousands of dollars of debt and limited job

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