Senator Feinstein has long been a champion of access to affordable, quality health coverage. She strongly supports a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her health. She has also been a leader in pushing for stronger consumer protections regarding chemicals that affect our health, in areas ranging from children’s toys to personal care products.
Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
- COVID-19 has severely affected our way of life and caused extreme hardship for millions of Americans nationwide. Throughout the pandemic, Senator Feinstein advocated for implementing preventative health measures that are effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19, including vaccination, mask-use and routine testing. Additionally, she supported several coronavirus emergency relief bills, dedicating trillions of dollars for individuals, families, vulnerable communities, small businesses and the medical community. Senator Feinstein proudly supported the American Rescue Plan Act, which President Biden signed into law on March 11, 2021.
Protecting the Affordable Care Act
- Senator Feinstein supported and helped pass the Affordable Care Act in the Senate and voted for its passage in 2009.
- Senator Feinstein has consistently voted against efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. She voted in favor of the law in 2010, and continues to fight back against efforts to take away coverage and protections for consumers. She is focused on working with her colleagues to improve the law, rather than dismantle it.
- During the summer of 2017, Senator Feinstein was very vocal in her opposition to repealing the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans attempted no less than four times. Senator Feinstein rallied support for the bill in California and spoke frequently about how important the bill is, not only for the millions who receive health coverage because of it, but also for its support of Medicaid and the many programs it supports. Senator Feinstein believes that we must continue working to strengthen this legislation.
Expanding Health Care Coverage
- During her time in the Senate, Senator Feinstein has strongly supported legislation and policies that ensure all Americans have access to the quality, affordable health care they deserve.
- Senator Feinstein is an original cosponsor of the Choose Medicare Act (S. 1180), introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). This bill would create a public health care option based on Medicare that would offer comprehensive coverage and all of the benefits covered under traditional Medicare.
- Senator Feinstein is the author of the Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings (PALS) Act of 2021, which would preserve coverage for routine breast cancer screening for women in their 40s.
- Senator Feinstein knows firsthand the struggles women face when it comes to accessing abortion care. She often speaks about her time at Stanford University when students would pass collection plates to fund trips to Tijuana to obtain an abortion. She strongly supports congressional efforts to codify the protections Roe v. Wade offered to women by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.
- She signed onto multiple amicus briefs before the Supreme Court supporting a woman’s right to choose in cases including Trump v. Pennsylvania (2020), California v. Texas (2020), June Medical Services v. Gee (2019), New York v. Department of Health and Human Services (2019), Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Family Planning and Preventative Health Services v. Smith (2017), Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellersted (2016), Zubik v. Burwell (2016).
- She authored legislation to create the Breast Cancer Research Stamp in 1998. It was the first “semipostal” stamp, meaning that it covers first-class postage plus an amount to fund causes that have been determined to be in the national public interest. Since its creation, the stamp has raised more than $94 million for breast cancer research.
- Senator Feinstein strongly supports President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, which aims to reduce the death rate from cancer by 50 percent in the next 25 years.
- As co-chair of the Senate Cancer Coalition, Senator Feinstein has worked to raise awareness, improve treatment and increase research on cancer and other diseases. She has consistently supported increased funding for cancer research and has sponsored several resolutions over the past decade to recognize May as National Cancer Research Month, all of which passed the Senate unanimously.
- Senator Feinstein worked with her colleagues to enhance research focus on deadly cancers, which led to an improved emphasis and strategy for research of top deadly cancers, including lung cancer. She was the sponsor of the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act, components of which were included in the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act.
Helping at-risk women detect cancer: Senator Feinstein authored and secured passage of a bill that requires health care providers to inform patients if they have dense breast tissue, a factor that places women at a higher risk of breast cancer. Early detection is critical to increasing the chance of survival for women with breast cancer and patients deserve to know their own medical information in order to make fully informed decisions about their health.
Increasing diversity in NIH clinical trials: Senator Feinstein included language in the fiscal year 2020 spending bill to help reduce barriers to clinical trial participation for minority groups by directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to revise existing protocol templates and guidelines for clinical trials that receive NIH funding. Racial and ethnic minority groups have been largely underrepresented in clinical trials among adults and evidence shows that irrelevant criteria may be inappropriately excluding these groups.
Confronting the Opioid Epidemic: To address the staggering number of drug and opioid overdose deaths ravaging this country, Senator Feinstein authored a number of key provisions that were included in the comprehensive, bipartisan opioid package, known as the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This bill holds drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for failure to report suspicious orders of opioids and reauthorizes critical substance abuse prevention, treatment and enforcement programs that directly benefit California, including the Drug Free Communities, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program and drug court programs.
Maintaining funding levels for safety net hospitals: Senator Feinstein worked to prevent funding cuts to hospitals that serve a high percentage of Medicaid patients, known as Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospitals. She successfully fought for higher funding levels as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Cracking down on rogue Internet pharmacies - Senator Feinstein coauthored legislation to crack down on rogue Internet pharmacies that sell controlled substances without a valid prescription, while protecting consumers who fill legitimate prescriptions online.
Banning phthalates in children’s toys - Senator Feinstein authored legislation to impose a nationwide ban on phthalates in products designed for children’s use, modeled after the California and European Union bans. Senator Feinstein’s language was included as a provision of the comprehensive Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
Breast Reconstruction Surgery: Senator Feinstein cosponsored the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act, which requires health insurance plans to pay for breast reconstruction surgery following mastectomies.