Hastings, Wasserman Schultz, and Buchanan Introduce Legislation to Expand Coverage of Breast Reconstruction

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Ft. Lauderdale, FL, October 13, 2020 | comments
Representative Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), along with Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), introduced bipartisan legislation, the Comprehensive Breast Reconstructive Act. Approximately 275,000 Americans are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. With survival rates and surgical options improving, the need for modernized and comprehensive breast reconstructive procedures have increased. The Comprehensive Breast Reconstructive Act requires the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to work with states, as well as update its own National Coverage Determination (NCD) to more closely align Medicare and Medicaid coverage guidelines with the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA) to ensure full coverage of post-mastectomy breast reconstruction procedures. Additionally, it would amend the WHCRA to require coverage of nipple-areolar complex (NAC) tattooing across Medicare, Medicaid, and private/group healthcare providers. NAC is a crucial option for many as the final stage of the post-mastectomy breast reconstruction procedure to provide a more natural and symmetrical appearance, and should be covered for breast cancer patients who choose to undergo it. Joining Hastings, Wasserman Schultz, and Buchanan as original co-sponsors include: Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), and Susan Davis (D-CA). (Please find a copy of the bill attached):  

“Breast cancer diagnosis has been on the rise each year," said Hastings. "With increased cases and the number of those who seek reconstruction surgery. This legislation will be vital in their recovery and relief from a life altering illness. I am proud to have my colleagues join me in supporting a critically important bill to help breast cancer survivors.”

“As a breast cancer survivor, I know firsthand the importance of ensuring Americans have access to the full range of post-mastectomy breast reconstruction procedures. Restoring a breast cancer patient physically and mentally is critical to the healing process. I’m proud to join with my colleagues Congressmen Alcee Hastings and Vern Buchanan to introduce legislation to ensure nipple-areolar tattooing, a medically necessary surgery will become accessible to the thousands of Americans fighting breast cancer,” said Wasserman Schultz.  

“Breast cancer is a very serious issue with nearly one in eight women developing breast cancer during their lifetime,” Buchanan said. “I am glad to join with my Florida colleagues Reps. Alcee Hastings and Debbie Wasserman Schultz to introduce legislation to ease the recovery of women going through comprehensive reconstructive surgery.”  

BILL SUMMARY  

The Comprehensive Breast Reconstructive Act amends the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA) under the  Employee  Retirement  Income  Security  Act  of  1974  to  provide  for  health  coverage  of  nipple-areolar  complex  tattooing  in connection  with  reconstructive  surgery  following  mastectomy  and  to  amend  titles  XVIII and  XIX  of  the Social  Security  Act to  extend  coverage of  certain  breast reconstructive  services  following  mastectomy under the Medicare and Medicaid programs and adds licensed tattoo artists to the list of Medicare providers.  

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Dean and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.  


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