There have been several exciting, noteworthy developments for our district, state, and country lately. For starters, now that November is upon us, President Trump has again declared this month the second annual National Veterans and Military Families Month to “salute the brave and dedicated patriots who have worn the uniform of the United States, and… celebrate the extraordinary military families whose selfless service and sacrifice make our military the finest in the world.”
I am glad that the president has once again demonstrated that we are committed to veterans and military families more than just on Veterans Day.
Next, you may be aware that each year the month of October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness and raise funds for research. It was recently brought to my attention that Medicare and Medicaid only cover two options for women following a mastectomy: surgical breast reconstructive surgery or a prefabricated breast prosthetic. The latter has been described as shapeless, heavier than the normal breast, and cumbersome to wear – but there’s another option.
Custom fabricated breast prosthetics exist, and while they are significantly less expensive than reconstructive surgery and are custom-fit to a woman’s body shape, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has deemed this option not reasonable or necessary for coverage. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I sent a letter to the CMS Administrator urging her to modify this coverage determination. I believe it is only right that women who have battled breast cancer be given the options that work best for them and not be subjected to a one-size-fits-all approach. I will keep you informed on any developments.
In still more news, we recently learned that the Air Force is directing $18 million for the construction of a new air traffic control tower at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery. I have advocated for this project for years and have personally climbed up the antiquated tower. It badly needs to be replaced, so I am very pleased that this issue is being addressed through the recently passed military funding bill. I look forward to seeing this improvement become reality as Maxwell continues to support the needs of the Air Force in the River Region, including the 187th Fighter Wing’s missions. Construction is expected to begin in June of 2019 and conclude in December of 2020.
Amid all of this news, I also had the opportunity this past week to spend more time traveling throughout Alabama’s Second District as the October district work period continued. I had productive visits in Wetumpka, Montgomery, Tallassee, and Dothan.
In Wetumpka, I sat down with Keith Barnett, the new Director of the Elmore County Emergency Management Agency, and other community leaders to discuss infrastructure, rural broadband, prison reform, and economic growth in the region. I also appreciated this group giving me an update on Elmore County’s priorities. In Montgomery, I met with members of the Alabama Ag Credit, officials from New York Life, folks from Cardiovascular Associates, and more.
While in Tallassee, I had the opportunity to speak to the Lions Club during their lunch meeting. I appreciated being able to give them an update from Washington and fill them in on my priorities as their representative in Congress.
In Dothan, I spoke to our community leaders at the annual Second Congressional District dinner. Each year, this event serves as an excellent time for those of us in public service to discuss the ways we can better assist the people we represent. I reminded the group of the many ways my office can be of service to them as we work to serve our shared constituency.
The month of October brought several positive developments to our region, state and country, and I was glad to be part of the excitement on your behalf. I am looking forward to seeing what the month of November holds for Alabamians and all Americans, and I am eager to spend more time on the road visiting with the people I am grateful to represent in Congress.
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.