Florida Delegation Rallies Around the Comprehensive Breast Reconstructive Act

Members of the Florida delegation on Capitol Hill are backing the “Comprehensive Breast Reconstructive Act.”

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., introduced the bill at the end of last week. The proposal would have the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) update the 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” and “would amend the WHCRA to require coverage of nipple-areolar complex (NAC) tattooing across Medicare, Medicaid, and private/group healthcare providers.”According to Hastings’ office, “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.”

U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Darren Soto, D-Fla., and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., are among the cosponsors.

“Breast cancer diagnosis has been on the rise each year,” said Hastings on Tuesday. “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.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce; the Ways and Means; and the Education and Labor Committees at the end of last week.

So far, there is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

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