Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Health Care

Regardless of personal background or political leanings, we all share a concern for access to health care for ourselves and our families. Congressman Cohen is committed to making quality and comprehensive health care more affordable and more accessible. Congressman Cohen will continue to work with his colleagues  to address some of the most pressing issues facing our community - including expanded access to health clinics, recruiting and retaining doctors to work in our inner cities and underserved areas, improved access to pre-natal care and services to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rate, and ways to reduce the financial impact to hospitals like Regional One Health, previously known as The MED, that provide hundreds of millions in uncompensated care to people each year.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Congressman Cohen was proud to vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. Since its passage, 20 million Americans have gained health coverage from the ACA with tens of millions more benefiting from the health care law including Memphians. With the ACA, young adults up to age 26 can stay on their parents’ insurance plan and health insurance companies can no longer discriminate against patients with pre-existing conditions. Memphis has seen the benefits to our public health framework as millions of dollars in federal grant funding have been invested in our community health centers. Congressman Cohen continues to strongly believe in the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and will continue to fight against the removal of health insurance for millions of Americans. Affordable health care should be a right, not a privilege. Congressman Cohen has voted more than 65 times against the repeal of the ACA, including on May 4, 2017 when he voted against the American Health Care Act, also known as “Trumpcare.” He has cosponsored bills which would instead protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, including the Undo Sabotage and Expand Affordability of Health Insurance Act. Congressman Cohen is also a cosponsor of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which would give America a truly universal, single-payer system similar to the less costly and more efficient systems found in Western Europe, Australia and Canada.

Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Disability

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs impact the lives and health of thousands of citizens in Memphis and across the country. Congressman Cohen greatly appreciates the importance of all three of these essential programs and is committed to ensuring that these promised benefits are available to those who rely on them. These programs serve as the safety net for our nation's seniors as well as our disabled and low income citizens, and Congressman Cohen will continue to push Congress to constantly evaluate the performance of the Medicare and Medicaid programs in order to realize the programs’ full potential. Congressman Cohen remains committed to ensuring that his constituents receive the benefits that they have earned after years of contribution.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been a leading health issue facing Congress. Congress created CHIP in 1997 with broad bipartisan support. CHIP provides health coverage for over 9 million children in working families with parents who either can’t afford insurance or hold jobs that lack health care benefits. CHIP and Medicaid together cover 39 percent of children in the U.S. It was shameful that Congress allowed CHIP funding to expire on September 30, 2017. Congressman Cohen wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker Paul Ryan, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asking for the clean and speedy reauthorization of CHIP. He was proud to vote for the six-year reauthorization of CHIP funding on January 22, 2018, as well as the additional four year extension on February 9, 2018, ensuring that CHIP will have dedicated funding for the next ten years.

Disproportionate Sharing Hospitals (DSH) Allotments

In 2015, Congressman Cohen helped negotiate a compromise with the Tennessee Congressional Delegation that will guarantee disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotments totaling more than $530 million over the next 10 years to help the state’s hospitals and community health centers recoup expenses incurred caring for those who cannot afford to pay. He is a cosponsor of a bill to make the Tennessee DSH allotment permanent. Tennessee is the only state in the nation that does not receive DSH allotments automatically. Congressman Cohen believes that Tennessee hospitals deserve the same level of certainty about their DSH allotments that hospitals throughout the United States have, and will continue to fighting for Tennessee’s hospitals in a bipartisan fashion to bring funds that will help keep hospitals around the state open and that will help provide all Memphians and Tennesseans access to the medical care they need. 

Medical Marijuana

Congressman Cohen has long supported medical marijuana laws throughout his career in public life and has worked for more rational and just policies. With cuts being made across all levels of government and in nearly every agency, it makes no sense to waste dwindling resources interfering with a system that helps ease suffering and brings in revenue that helps pay for roads and highways, for police and for firemen. Medical marijuana is an important treatment for individuals suffering from debilitating diseases—in some cases, it is the only treatment that works. It is not a good use of our limited federal resources to prevent people with diseases like AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis from seeking a little relief, compassion and dignity. Congressman Cohen introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act that would move to fix our country’s failed drug policy concerning marijuana and help medical patients get the relief they need.

Mental Health

Mental health is an issue that is deeply personal for Congressman Cohen, most notably because his father was a psychiatrist who later served as superintendent at the Western State Mental Health Institute in Bolivar, Tennessee. Congressman Cohen believes that the United States needs a mental health care system that is of a high quality, while also being accessible and affordable. Mental illnesses are treatable diseases that impact millions of Americans each year, but many group health plans do not provide the same coverage for mental illnesses as they do for physical ailments.  Congressman Cohen has cosponsored legislation that would ensure that mental health and addiction benefits are no more restricted or costly than medical and surgical benefits, as well as legislation to support proven initiatives and programs that provide assistance to patients without discouraging them from seeking care. Congressman Cohen believes that it is important to protect the rights of individuals requiring mental health assistance while providing treatment that is comprehensive, nondiscriminatory and protects them against abuse.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Funding

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) serves as the world’s preeminent medical research institution and our nation’s best hope for finding cures, improving treatments, and gaining a better understanding of the complex causes of diseases that affect millions of Americans. It also generates high-paying jobs in the cutting-edge biomedical research industry and keeps America competitive in biomedical science. As a co-chair of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, Congressman Cohen is an advocate for sustained and strong federal funding of the research programs performed at the NIH. Disease is the most prominent enemy of our nation and we must do everything in our power to conquer it. While we have foreign enemies overseas that we have to defend ourselves against, it is much more likely that the average American will themselves or through a family member face a debilitating disease than an international threat.  Congressman Cohen has always considered the NIH to be our nation’s other Department of Defense and believes that the NIH should be funded accordingly. Congressman Cohen has consistently joined with his colleagues in the House to oppose measures that would cut funding to the NIH, as well as to support measures that would increase its funding through the federal appropriations process. In the past diseases have emerged that understandably alarmed the American public, but with proper and adequate funding we can do more to both stop the spread of and cure illnesses. Increased funding will allow our nation to be better prepared to work from a place of prevention – not reaction – when it comes to infectious diseases. Congressman Cohen will continue to push for funding for the NIH to be increased -- not slashed -- because the research conducted at the NIH helps save lives, creates jobs and benefits future generations.

More on Health Care

December 17, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted for one of two comprehensive spending measures funding federal government programs through the end of fiscal year in September 2020. Both measures passed the House, averting another government shutdown. The measure the Congressman supported provides a record high level of spending on the National Institutes of Health, Child Care and Community Development Block Grants, Head Start, Title 1 Education, and Food for Peace. 

December 16, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that St. Jude Children’s Research Center and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will each be receiving a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to continue their critical research. St. Jude will receive $376,950 for its work on chromatin modifiers from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. UTHSC will receive $495,854 for its work on metabolism and diabetes from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

December 12, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted for, and the House passed H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, a comprehensive bill that prevents Americans from having to pay more for their medicines than what Big Pharma charges for the same drugs in other countries.   

The vote on passage was 230 to 192. 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

December 3, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will receive a $695,409 grant from the National Cancer Institute for cancer research.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“I’m pleased to announce that St. Jude will receive this important funding to continue its research into childhood cancers at the nation’s premier childhood cancer research hospital. This critical funding will permit St. Jude to make new discoveries, improve therapies, and support the hospital’s dedicated employees.”

December 2, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive a $380,000 grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for research on diabetic vascular disease. 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

“Diabetes is more prevalent in Memphis and higher than the national average, so research into any aspect of the disease is good for Memphians. This research will strengthen our Memphis medical school and support critical research to fight this devastating disease.” 


October 22, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) questioned witnesses today at an Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services hearing titled “Long Overdue: Exploring the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act (H.R.

September 20, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that St. Jude Children’s Research Center will receive a grant of $448,750 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for research involving immunology, allergies and transplantation.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

September 20, 2019 Press Release


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today wrote letters to the Administrator of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and to Governor Bill Lee condemning the proposed block-granting of TennCare.

 In his letter to CMS, Congressman Cohen noted that the proposal would violate federal law and allow the state unprecedented freedom to direct funds away from Shelby County, the largest population of TennCare beneficiaries. See his letter here

September 18, 2019 Press Release

WASINGTON- Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will be receiving two grants totaling $683,760 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The first, for $304,014, from the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, will be for research on the bladder. The other, for $379,746, from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, will underwrite heart and vascular research. 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: