Breast Cancer Equity Bill Introduced in House

A new bill would require Medicare to fund custom breast protheses, and a public awareness campaign is driving support for the nascent legislation.

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Representatives from both sides of the aisle, Rod Blum (R-Iowa) and Judy Chu (D-Calif.), have introduced legislation that would require Medicare to fund custom breast prostheses for women who have undergone mastectomy surgery resulting from breast cancer.

The Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act (H.R. 6980) comes after Essentially Women, VGM’s women’s health service organization, organized the Make Me Whole Again Campaign. In addition to highlighting the issue, the advocacy campaign aimed to drive legislation that would ensure that Medicare funds custom breast prostheses.

The Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act lets Medicare beneficiaries choose the prostheses that best suits their needs instead of limiting them to generic off-the-shelf prostheses.

“Women who have undergone a mastectomy deserve to have every reconstructive option. Yet, currently, Medicare only covers two: the most basic — off-the-shelf breast prostheses — and the most comprehensive — reconstruction,” Rep. Chu said. “This bill would correct that by requiring Medicare to cover a third option: custom prostheses. This is important for women who want breasts that are the appropriate size and skin color but do not want to undergo reconstructive surgery. Medicare should not be limiting reasonable options that allow women to live normal lives after cancer.”

Nikki Jensen, vice president of Essentially Women, said she is hopeful that the bill will pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law before the end of 2018.

Jensen asked that “anyone affected by breast cancer, or if you just feel this is the right thing to do, please contact your elected officials and show support for bill H.R.6980 today.”

To learn more about the Make Me Whole Again Campaign, visit www.makemewholeagain.com.

About the Author

Leila McNeill is the Associate Editor of HME Business and Mobility Management magazines. She can be reached at LMcNeill@1105media.com.

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