Queens, NY – Cheering could be heard throughout the State Capitol Building when the New York State legislature passed A.8537/S.7881, the last legislative hurdle for this groundbreaking bill before going to the desk of Governor Kathy Hochul. The bill is set to amend the insurance law and will provide coverage and information on chest wall reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy or partial mastectomy, commonly known as “aesthetic flat closure.”
Currently, breast reconstruction is covered by insurance and while many women pursue reconstructive surgeries women also choose to "stay flat" and pursue aesthetic flat closure. Women who forgo breast reconstruction are most often done in one surgery, but about one in four will require revision to produce an acceptable aesthetic result (an aesthetic flat closure). Too often, these women are told that their revision surgery is “cosmetic” and therefore will not be covered by insurance. With this new bill, flat closure procedures would be covered by insurance just like reconstructive surgery. This change in the law gives women a choice in how they want their post-mastectomy body to look.
“Everyone knows someone who has been impacted by breast cancer. The courageous women who brought this issue to my attention told me their struggles and how they wanted to be in control and decide how their bodies looked after their mastectomy. The women in our State who have had a mastectomy don’t deserve to just survive, but the opportunity to thrive and live their lives the best way possible. Our bill sends a message that women in New York will get that chance and can make that decision,” said Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato.
“One in every eight women in this country will experience the life altering and traumatic experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer. If a woman undergoes a mastectomy as a treatment for her cancer, the aftermath of that surgery should be entirely within her control. If a woman chooses to undergo chest wall reconstruction, that is her right and it should be covered by insurance, in the same manner as breast reconstruction. I am proud to sponsor this legislation and I thank Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato for championing a woman's right to make decisions concerning her own body,” said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.
The final tally for the bill was 147-0 in the Assembly and 63-0 in the Senate, passing both houses in a bipartisan and unanimous manner. Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato and Senator Stavisky instantly started on the next and final step which involves getting Governor Hochul to sign the bill into law. “This is an issue that cannot wait. There are too many cases where women have been forced into decisions they have not wanted. Our State’s legislative bodies have come together from both sides of the aisles to support and pass this bill. It is now in the hands of the Governor. We are asking Governor Hochul to act now and help women have control over their post-mastectomy bodies,” said Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato.