(WASHINGTON, D.C.)--Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joined Representatives Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and more than 25 Members in sending a bipartisan letter to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Seema Verma urging that CMS ensure full post-mastectomy Medicare and Medicaid coverage for breast cancer patients. 

The Members wrote:

"Despite the fact that the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA) provides protections to patients who choose to have breast reconstruction in connection with a mastectomy, there are significant grey areas in how to interpret the law especially related to nipple-areolar tattooing. Furthermore, language describing coverage details remains vague, and in some instances may be limited to procedures that are considered “medically necessary,” further blurring potential interpretations of the law concerning nipple-areolar tattooing. Not surprisingly, coverage varies widely across private insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid."

The Members continued:

"In order to achieve consistency with Medicare and Medicaid, we strongly encourage CMS to update its Medicare Medical National Coverage Determination to ensure that breast reconstruction is inclusive of nipple-areolar tattooing for each patient that is medically eligible. Furthermore, to ensure this certainty for those patients covered under Medicaid, we urge CMS to work with states to adopt the WHCRA and clearly describe nipple-areolar tattooing as a medically necessary component of reconstruction following a mastectomy."

A copy of the signed letter is available here.