We have big news in the House! Families affected by congenital anomalies are closer to getting health insurance benefits for the treatments they need.
Our bill to mandate such payments took a big leap in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18) filed a motion on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, to put the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA), H.R. 1916, on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Consensus Calendar because ELSA has more than 290 co-sponsors and has incredible support from both Republicans and Democrats. ELSA garnered the supermajority last September and currently has 304 co-sponsors plus Representative Eshoo.
Now that ELSA’s on the calendar, things are designed to move more quickly. As long as there are bills on the Consensus Calendar, the House is required to consider a bill from the calendar each week they are in session. Right now, only two other bills besides ELSA are on it, and the Speaker of the House could designate ELSA for consideration after being on the consensus calendar for 25 legislative days. The House would then follow normal procedures for review and voting.
Why This is Good News
ELSA made it to the Consensus Calendar in the 116th Congress (the last Congressional term). However due to COVID, there were not enough Congressional days left to keep it on the calendar.
If you have been advocating or following ELSA’s journey the last few years, you know that things don’t always happen at the speed we prefer! The legislative process can be complex and long. But the path in the House should now be easier with ELSA on the Consensus Calendar.
This is fantastic progress! We thank our persistent advocates for getting such a large number in the House on board to make this possible.
Two Things You Can Do
But, no, our work is not finished. Here are two things you can do today to help ELSA keep advancing.
- Contact your legislators using our easy advocacy tool. Ask your legislators in the U.S House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to cosponsor ELSA if they haven’t. If they are co-sponsors, ask them to get their colleagues on board and make ELSA a priority in the 117th Congress.
- Register for Virtual Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. This year’s event is March 30. It’s critical that we have advocates from all 50 states participating—we need your voice! Plan to spend the entire day in virtual meetings with other ELSA advocates and legislators. It’s a day of comradery and excitement. Please join us!
329 Days Left
The folks in Washington tell us what an amazing job we have done to get ELSA this far in just five years. Our relentless, grassroots efforts are working! Please keep advocating: email your legislators. Keep telling your stories. Ask your friends and families to contact them, too. Again and again, we must keep doing this.
As of February 8, we only have 329 days left in the 117th Congress to get ELSA passed into law. If we don’t get ELSA passed in this amount of time, we will lose all of the hard work you dedicated to ELSA so far. We want you, ELSA advocates, to have the insurance benefits you need for your care. Together, let’s make that happen in 2022.