How H.R. 4989 Was Introduced —– And How You Can Help to Pass It

May 24, 2016

On Tuesday, April 19, the Cranial Prosthetic Medicaid Coverage Enhancement Act was introduced to Congress, as bill H.R. 4989. We’re asking you to reach out to your congressional representatives and ask them cosponsor it.

It is almost unheard of for an insurer to provide coverage for cranial prosthetics to those with alopecia areata. Coverage currently is mostly extended to individuals with hairloss secondary to chemotherapy. It’s an inequity NAAF has long struggled to address.

After meeting with NAAF, Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) and his staff agreed back in 2014 to author the Cranial Prosthetic Medicaid Coverage Enhancement Act, which would expand the Medicaid coverage benefit for cranial prosthetics to those diagnosed with alopecia areata, or any other patient with hair loss whose physician finds such a course of therapy to be “medically necessary.” This benefit would provide at least $400 every other year across all state Medicaid programs.

In order for a new bill to become law, it needs the support of many Members of Congress through co-sponsorship. In fact, legislators can even cosponsor the bill before it is introduced; these representatives are known as “initial cosponsors.” Throughout 2015 our Legislative Liaisons met with their congressional representatives both at home and in Washington, DC, during our annual Day on Capitol Hill to explain the bill’s significance and ask for these legislators to become initial cosponsors. 

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced the legislation as the bill’s lead, along with Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) as co-lead. Also signed on as initial cosponsors were Representatives Huffman, Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Robert Dold (R-IL). Note that both Democrats and Republicans are making this happen, which clearly demonstrates the importance of this bill.  

Now it’s time for the alopecia areata community to contact lawmakers’ district offices and urge them to cosponsor this landmark bill so it’s sure to pass when it comes up for a vote.

Since we've asked our community to ask for support from their congressional representatives, the bill has obtained the following co-sponsors:

H.R. 4989's original co-sponsors are:

Representative Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA)
Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA)
Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Representative Robert Dold (R-IL)

Since the Action Alert began, the following representatives have also signed on as co-sponsors:

Representative Brad Ashford (D-NE)
Representative Ron Kind (D-WI)
Representative James Langevin (D-RI)
Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA)

Let's add your congressperson to that list!

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