For years, Ayanna Pressley has built a reputation for being vocal about her experience with hair loss due to alopecia.
Now, the Massachusetts Congresswoman has introduced a bill to the U.S. Congress that seeks to provide support to people battling hair loss challenges.
According to the bill presented on Thursday, September 30, Medicare will be required to pay for wigs of those who lose their hair due to medical reasons.
“It’s so much more than cosmetic,” Pressley said, “it takes a real toll.”
“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.
“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.”
Further explaining the necessity of the surprising bill, Pressley who is among the almost 7 million Americans with alopecia, told Vanity Fair in an interview, that being bald as a woman has adverse consequences on societal perception of women.
“[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.”
Joining Pressley in sponsoring the bill, Rep. James McGovern narrated the challenges of women suffering from hair loss.
“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 said.
McGovern, whose 20-year-old daughter is battling cancer, said his daughter has been worried about losing her hair to chemotherapy.
“The thing she’s most worried about is having to go through chemotherapy,” McGovern said. “Losing your hair at 20 — that’s really kind of a traumatic thing,” McGovern stressed.