Eshoo Bill Covering Children Born with Congenital Anomalies or Birth Defects Passes House

April 4, 2022
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed Anna G. Eshoo’s (D-CA) bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA), which ensures health insurance coverage for needed treatment and procedures for individuals born with congenital anomalies or birth defects. The Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act was one of the top three most cosponsored pending pieces of legislation in the House in the 117th Congress and is co-led with Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA). A video of Eshoo speaking on the House floor about the Ensuring Last Smiles Act earlier today can be found here.

“The bipartisan, bicameral Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act is one of the most popular bills in the House for good reason—it will keep America’s children healthy and smiling,” said Eshoo. “I became the champion of this legislation after I heard from a family in my district who, despite having health insurance, had to pay $4,000 out-of-pocket in just a few months for treatment for their infant daughter Rosie’s congenital cataracts. In a country as rich and great as America, we can’t allow insurance red tape to put medically necessary treatments out of reach for children and their families.”

“I am thrilled to see the House take this critical action to ensure procedures needed to correct congenital anomalies or birth defects in our children are covered by insurance,” Ferguson said. “By eliminating existing burdens that deny medical coverage for diagnosis, treatments and other services, families will no longer need to haggle with insurance companies for their children’s medical needs. I’m grateful for the partnership of Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) as we work to get this important bill across the finish line, and I look forward to its consideration in the U.S. Senate.”

“Thanks to ELSA's passage, children with congenital anomalies of the eye will get the medical care they deserve. Our daughter Rosie is one of these children. At six weeks of age Rosie had surgery at Stanford for a congenital cataract. We insert and remove a special tiny contact lens every day. These lenses are not covered by insurance and, without them, infants with congenital cataracts have no chance of ever developing normal vision. Rosie's vision is progressing beautifully because we can afford to pay for her lenses. ELSA would help right this injustice for families that cannot afford contact lenses, ensuring all children with congenital eye anomalies receive the care they need,” said Shira Lipton, mother of Rosie, who lives with a congenital anomaly.

"I am thankful that ELSA will create a brighter world for my daughter Sóley, and countless other families affected by congenital abnormalities, so we no longer have to choose between medically necessary care for our children or our children's education and future,” said Sean Vora, father of Sóley who lives with a congenital anomaly.