American Society of Plastic Surgeons works to secure passage of the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act through Congress
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is leading the charge to educate members of Congress on the importance of the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act, which would require all group and individual health plans to cover medically necessary services related to a patient's anomaly or birth defect, including reconstructive surgeries and oral-related procedures.
U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act on August 23 to ensure health insurance coverage for individuals suffering from congenital anomalies or birth defects. ASPS was an initial supporter and has been working with Sen. Baldwin in advance of the bill's formal introduction. Seventy-five ASPS surgeons from 24 states advocated for this bill during the ASPS Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C. in June and met with their members of Congress to provide insight on how it will impact patients. The Society also coordinated an extensive letter writing campaign to key members of Congress encouraging them to support the bill. U.S. Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN-07) and David Young (R-IA-03) have introduced a companion bill in the House.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 33 babies in the United States is born with a congenital anomaly. Many born with congenital anomalies suffer from severe oral and facial defects such as cleft lip or palate, skeletal and maxillofacial deformities, hypodontia and enamel hypoplasia. Plastic surgeons play an integral role in treating these conditions, performing 24,428 reconstructive procedures to treat congenital deformities in 2017, according to the 2017 National Plastic Surgery Statistics.
Although most health plans provide coverage for congenital anomalies, many consistently deny or delay claims for reconstructive and dental procedures. The bipartisan legislation would address coverage denials and delays that could lead to long-term physical and psychological injuries. The bill would also require that such coverage includes services that functionally repair or restore any missing or abnormal body part that is medically necessary to achieve normal body functioning or appearance, such as adjunctive dental, orthodontic or prosthodontic support.
ASPS is working closely with the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias and other advocacy groups to secure cosponsors and advance this legislation throughout the remainder of the 115th Congress.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is the world's largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons. Representing more than 7,000 Member Surgeons, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. ASPS advances quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery.