*Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Rep. James McGovern are pushing for Medicare to cover the costs of wigs for those who suffer from hair loss.
“[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 due to the autoimmune disease alopecia — told Vanity Fair. She has unveiled a bill requiring Medicare to pay for wigs for those with hair loss due to disease or medical treatments.
“It’s so much more than cosmetic,” the “Squad” member said of being a bald woman. “It takes a real toll.”
As reported by the New York Post, Pressley teamed with McGovern who first introduced the bill in 2018. McGovern’s 20-year-old daughter has been impacted by hair loss as she battles a rare cancer.
For many people with alopecia or undergoing cancer treatment, a wig is about dignity & respect.@RepPressley & I just introduced a bill requiring Medicare to cover medically necessary wigs.
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) October 1, 2021
“The thing she’s most worried about is having to go through chemotherapy,” he said. “Losing your hair at 20 — that’s really kind of a traumatic thing.”
“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 told Vanity Fair.
“It’s a simple legislative fix, and I think it’ll have a profound impact,” Pressley said.
If passed, the bill would make cranial prosthetics (medical wigs) eligible for coverage under the Social Security Act.
“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,” said Pressley. “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.”
Pressley previously said that she is “making peace with having alopecia…But I’m making progress every day… It’s about self-agency, it’s about power, it’s about acceptance.”