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Rep. Ayanna Pressley pushes for Medicare to cowl wigs: ‘It’ll have a profound affect’

Unlike many non-public insurance coverage, Medicare doesn’t at the moment cowl the price of wigs. Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley wish to change that.

“[To] be bald as a woman really does disrupt conventional and societal norms of what is appropriate, what is professional, what is attractive, what is feminine,” Pressley — who has hair-loss inflicting autoimmune illness alopecia — told Vanity Fair in an interview Thursday. The identical day, she unveiled a invoice requiring Medicare to pay for wigs for these experiencing hair loss as a result of illness or medical therapies. 

“It’s so much more than cosmetic,” the Massachusetts congresswoman and “Squad” member mentioned of being bald and feminine. “It takes a real toll.” 

The new invoice is introduced by Pressley and her Massachusetts House delegation colleague Rep. James McGovern, who first introduced the bill in 2018.

Ayanna Pressley
Rep. Ayanna Pressley attends a information convention on the Women’s Health Protection Act, outdoors of the US Capitol on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc through Getty Imag

“Doctors have told me that patients have refused lifesaving cancer treatments because they were afraid they were going to lose their hair and didn’t know how to deal with it,” the congressman advised Vanity Fair.

His personal 20-year-old daughter has been impacted by the dilemma, as she has a uncommon most cancers prognosis. “The thing she’s most worried about is having to go through chemotherapy,” he mentioned. “Losing your hair at 20 — that’s really kind of a traumatic thing.” 

Rep. James McGovern first introduced the bill in 2018.
Rep. James McGovern first launched the invoice in 2018.
AFP through Getty Images

If handed, the pair’s invoice would recategorize cranial prosthetics, the formal time period for medical wigs, as sturdy medical tools, making them eligible for protection underneath the Social Security Act.

“It’s a simple legislative fix, and I think it’ll have a profound impact,” mentioned Pressley, adding to Essence that the invoice strives for solidarity, too.

“Every person living with alopecia, battling cancer, or facing another medical condition that leads to hair loss, should be able to access wigs and other head coverings,” she mentioned. “Our bill is responsive and sends a powerful message to these communities: we see you, you belong, and you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”