Our Republic was designed to make sure the people had a voice in government and could determine the outcomes of policy and laws made by Congress. I work every day to make sure I take the voices and will of the people in the Third District to the halls of Congress as I advocate on their behalf.
Earlier this Congress, I met with Morgan, a constituent from Winterset who is a cervical cancer survivor. When I met with Morgan, she explained to me how co-testing – a combination of a Pap test and an HPV test for women aged 30-65 – can help prevent new cervical cancer cases. She shared how the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) was not going to include co-testing as the recommended method for detecting cervical cancer.
The USPSTF is an independent panel which recommends preventative services and insurance companies often base their coverage on the recommendations of the USPSTF. Morgan came to our office because she wanted to make sure her representative knew the implications for women if co-testing was not the recommended method.
After hearing Morgan’s story, I led an effort with my colleagues to implore the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure co-testing was the recommended method for cervical cancer screening. When the USPSTF released its final recommendation last month, co-testing was the recommended method. Morgan’s leadership and courage to share her story was heard.
After the announcement, Morgan said, “This disease is preventable and this is one more step in the right direction.” That is how our government should work. Stories from Iowans like Morgan’s changed how the government functions and I am proud to make sure those stories and voices are heard.
I also recently introduced a bill called the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act which ensures patients with congenital abnormalities and birth defects get the surgeries and procedures they need to live a healthier life. I met with Alli from the Third District who was born with a disorder which required a surgery that could cost thousands of dollars.
Like Alli, many patients born with a cleft lip or palate, skeletal deformities, or dental defects need surgery to improve their quality of life. Unfortunately, many insurers deny coverage for these surgeries, saying they are “cosmetic” in nature. The surgeries these patients need are not cosmetic and are necessary to live a more normal life.
That is why I joined my Democrat colleague, Rep. Collin Peterson from Minnesota, to introduce the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act. Alli and others need these surgeries to perform normal bodily functions and insurance companies should not be able to classify them as cosmetic. Alli’s courage and voice helped make this bill possible.
These are just two examples of how everyday Iowans are being heard and making their government works for them. Going to every county in the Third District every month and meeting with Iowans here at home or in Washington, D.C. ensures I hear stories such as Morgan’s and Alli’s. It’s their stories, struggles, and solutions which I use every day to advance the causes Iowans need to live a better life.