Representative Ayanna Pressley asks Medicare to cover wigs

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Unlike many private insurance plans, Medicare does not currently cover the cost of wigs. Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley would like to change that.

“[To] to be bald because a woman really disrupts conventional and societal norms of what is appropriate, what is professional, what is attractive, what is feminine ”, says Vanity Fair in an interview on Thursday. On the same day, she unveiled a bill requiring Medicare to pay for wigs for those who experience hair loss due to illness or medical treatment.

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

The new bill is introduced by Pressley and his colleague from the Massachusetts House delegation, Representative James McGovern, who introduced the bill for the first time in 2018.

Representative Ayanna Pressley attends a Women’s Health Protection Act press conference outside the United States Capitol on Friday, September 24, 2021.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

“Doctors have told me that patients have turned down life-saving cancer treatments because they feared losing their hair and didn’t know how to deal with it,” the congressman told Vanity Fair.

Her own 20-year-old daughter was hit with the dilemma because she was diagnosed with rare cancer. “What worries her the most is having to undergo chemotherapy,” he said. “Losing your hair at 20 is really traumatic.”

Representative James McGovern first introduced the bill in 2018.
Representative James McGovern first introduced the bill in 2018.
AFP via Getty Images

If passed, the couple’s bill will reclassify head prostheses, the formal term for medical wigs, as durable medical equipment, making them eligible for coverage under the Social Security Act.

“It’s a simple legislative solution, and I think it will have a profound impact,” Pressley said, add to gasoline that the bill also aims at solidarity.

“Anyone living with alopecia, battling cancer, or having another medical condition that leads to hair loss should be able to access wigs and other headwear,” she said. “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.


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