Jul. 10, 2023 By Bill Parry
Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato recently marched with cancer survivors and advocates for Aesthetic Flat Closure — also known as a flat chest wall — at the 20th anniversary event for the Middle Village Relay for Life. The assemblywoman was joined by survivors — or “thrivers,” as she called them — to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the passage of her historic legislation that fully authorized insurance coverage for aesthetic flat closure across the state.
With the enactment of her legislation, New York became the first state in the nation to provide this right to women.
The Relay for Life was held on June 24 at Juniper Valley Park’s Brennan Field located at 71st Street and Lutheran Avenue in Middle Village. Many of the women who participated who had the aesthetic flat closure procedure marched shirtless to promote the surgery and show that women in New York have full autonomy over their chest.
“How a woman wishes for her chest to look after a mastectomy is now fully in her control,” Pheffer Amato said. “We all know someone who has been impacted by breast cancer, and this bill ensures that women don’t just survive, but thrive and feel good about their own body.”
Aesthetic Flat Closure is a surgery many women wish to utilize after having full or partial mastectomy. Prior to her legislation, which required insurance companies in New York State to cover this surgery, women were often left with pockets of skin, or flaps of skin remaining on their chest. Until the law was implemented in 2022, the removal of the skin to achieve an aesthetic flat chest was deemed “cosmetic” and not covered by insurance. This resulted in reconstructive surgery or breast implants being covered by insurance, but the option to go flat was not.
“Today, we honor those who didn’t have a choice and celebrate for all the women going forward who do,” Pheffer Amato said.
While speaking at the Relay for Life event, Pheffer Amato presented an official copy of the historic legislation which passed both chambers with bi-partisan support.