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Health Care

Protecting and Strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, Improving Care, Controlling Costs, and Investing in Research

Senator Reed has supported efforts to improve the quality of our health care system and reduce costs for consumers, and has been nationally recognized for his work to provide all children with access to affordable health care.  He helped author key provisions of the health insurance reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to give individuals and families more choice and more control over their health care. 

For the first time, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for a pre-existing condition, charge women higher insurance rates, or put an annual or lifetime cap on how much they will pay for care.  The ACA addresses these unfair practices, gives more people the chance to afford insurance, as well as preserves and strengthens employer-based insurance and federal programs like Medicare. 

Reed is also steadfastly committed to preserving and protecting Medicare and Medicaid, improving the health of Rhode Islanders and the quality of the care they receive, and lowering costs without slashing benefits.  Throughout his career, Reed has worked to support Rhode Island’s Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) program, RIte Care, with additional federal funds.  RIte Care provides over 200,000 Rhode Islanders with vital assistance.  Without this program, many would likely go without needed care or make costly trips to emergency rooms.

Reed helped broker a bipartisan agreement that prevented over 600,000 children nationwide from potentially losing their health insurance and boosted SCHIP funding for Rhode Island from $13.2 million to $69.5 million – the highest percentage increase of any state. 

He also wrote the Conquer Childhood Cancer Act, a law that expands research programs aimed at improving childhood cancer treatments and research.  And he has earned national recognition for increasing funds for vital immunization and disease prevention programs for children and adults, as well as for his work to expand healthy housing options and prevent lead poisoning.

Reed has delivered federal funds to help Rhode Island combat the opioid epidemic and ensure evidence-based education, treatment, and recovery programs that work.  He wrote the Overdose Prevention Act, which aims to decrease the rate of drug overdose deaths by improving access for first responders to the overdose antidote Naloxone, supporting overdose prevention programs, enhancing surveillance of overdose occurrences, and establishing a coordinated federal plan of action to address the opioid epidemic.


  • Reed has worked on a bipartisan basis to expand and improve mental health care services and care.  He has strongly advocated for establishing parity between mental health services and other health services, has worked to improve community mental health centers and prevent suicide, especially among college students, and has authored legislation to ensure that members of the National Guard and Reserves receive the mental health care they need.
  • Reed ensured that Rhode Island’s hospitals and their workers get the same kind of federal reimbursement as their counterparts in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
  • Reed authored the bipartisan Conquer Childhood Cancer Act to expand childhood cancer research and increase services to patients and families affected by the disease.
  • Reed introduced the CHildhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act of 2017 to increase funding for research into and treatment of childhood cancer. 
  • Reed successfully pressured the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to strengthen labeling and testing standards for tanning beds and sunscreen products, and has authored legislation to help expedite the FDA’s approval process for new sunscreen ingredients.
  • As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Reed strongly supports medical research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), medical education and training programs, and lead poisoning prevention programs, as well as national immunization programs for the uninsured and underinsured.  He supports new legislation that would create a biomedical research reserve fund to help increase our investment in this critical area. 
  • Reed has worked to address an inequity within the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program so that pediatric mental health hospitals, like Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island, can receive federal funding to train pediatric physicians.  
  • Reed supported the 2010 National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which created a national plan to address Alzheimer’s disease along with expanded and coordinated federal research and treatment efforts, and has consistently worked to increase funding for Alzheimer’s disease initiatives.
  • Reed helped pass the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to protect the public from deceptive cigarette advertisements, prevent the targeting of minors, and remove certain harmful ingredients from cigarettes.
  • Reed has also worked in a bipartisan manner to improve childhood cancer treatments and support the National Marrow Donor Program, which provides donor matching information for patients in need of a bone marrow transplant. 
  • Reed authored the bipartisan Trauma Care Systems Planning and Development Act, establishing critical care networks nationwide so that more paramedics and first responders can get trauma care patients to the right doctor at the right time.
  • Reed wrote the Better Pharmaceuticals and Devices for Children Act (BPDCA) to help ensure drugs and medical devices are specifically tested, labeled, and proven to be safe and effective for children. 

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