|Spring 2004 CARES Foundation, Inc.|
|Back to Spring 2004 Index|
Reconstructive Surgery Act of 2003
by Congressman Mike Ross (D-AR)
|For the last two years, I have introduced the Reconstructive Surgery Act. This year the bill number is H.R. 1499. The initiative would require health insurance plans to cover medically necessary corrective reconstructive surgery for congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, infection, trauma or disease, with no age limit. Examples of conditions for which this bill would apply are cleft lips and palates, skull deformities, burns, unformed ears, and missing pectoral muscles that cause chest deformities.
I introduced this measure after my constituent, Wendelyn Osborne, contacted me with the problem of getting her insurance company to cover her medically necessary surgical procedure. As an infant, Ms. Osborne was diagnosed with a rare congenital bone disease, Craniometaphyseal Dysplasia (CMD), which was depicted in the 1985 movie Mask starring Cher. CMD involves an overgrowth of craniofacial bone that never deteriorates. At the time of her diagnosis, Ms. Osborne was the sixteenth CMD case in medical history. Doctors told her parents that she would not live past the age of ten. With many surgeries, starting at the age of six, she is now in her thirties. The severity of Ms. Osborne’s craniofacial anomalies precludes adequate treatment through a single procedure and requires continuous surgical procedures for the rest of her life.
This issue is important because it is about doing what is right for Ms. Osborne and people like her, regardless of their age. These patients did not ask to be born with a congenital disease or experience a traumatic, disfiguring event. There are too many families and patients with stories about trying to convince their insurers that surgeries to construct an ear or repair a cleft palate are not cosmetic but are in fact medically necessary.
The National Organization for Rare Disorders, the Children’s Craniofacial Association, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Easter Seals, the March of Dimes, and the National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction endorse the Reconstructive Surgery Act of 2003 (H.R. 1499). Please visit the public legislative information site, http://thomas.loc.gov, and contact my healthcare legislative assistant, Sylvia C. Brown, for more information about the measure.
Congressman Mike Ross is serving his second term as representative of Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District. He can be contacted at: 314 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20003, Phone: 202-225-3772, Fax: 202-225-1314.
|© 2004 CARES Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of CARES content, including by framing or similar means, is prohibited without the prior written consent of CARES.|