Director: Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC, RLC

Committee Description:  The goal of the Advocacy Committee is to promote wider recognition and acceptance of the IBCLC credential in the public arena, among policy makers and within the health care system.

Committee Chair:  Position not filled.  Interested?

Application for Committee work Click here


Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

So many mothers need breastfeeding help, but cannot access the level of care that they need. Even though the Affordable Care Act requires breastfeeding support, it does not specify the provider that best fulfills this mandate. Many insurers will not credential IBCLCs nor maintain IBCLC networks because IBCLCs are not licensed. Breastfeeding care becomes more fragmented and deferred to providers who may not have the training or expertise to handle complex lactation situations. This means that many breastfeeding women are without the care they need, when they need it the most. 

Your voice is needed. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is creating rules for insurance companies in the individual and small group markets under the new health care law. As part of this effort, they will take comments from the public about what services insurance companies must cover. Use this opportunity to tell HHS that mothers should have access to IBCLCs, that insurers should cover the services of the IBCLC, and that all breastfeeding mothers deserve access to IBCLCs, not just those who can afford it.

We've made a lot of progress - but there's still more to be done. Send in your comments at!submitComment;D=CMS-2012-0142-0001. Comments are due by 5:00 PM Eastern time on December 26, 2012. The entire proposed rule can be found at!documentDetail;D=CMS-2012-0142-0001.

The US Lactation Consultant Association is working hard to assure that IBCLC services are available to all women. Thank you for all you do to ensure women have access to quality, affordable health care. A sample letter can be found by clicking here. Be sure to individualize it so HHS gets a comprehensive picture of why IBCLCs are vital to the care of breastfeeding women and infants. Your letter needs to be brief as the portal allows only 2000 characters. 

Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC
USLCA Director of Public Policy


Essential Health Benefits Bulletin

The Department of Health and Human Services intends to allow states to use existing health plans as benchmarks for benefits that must be offered by individual and small group health insurance plans inside or outside exchange markets that are to start in 2014 under the health reform law, the agency said in a bulletin issued Dec. 16. The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, part of HHS's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, issued the information bulletin as guidance, saying it intends to pursue a rulemaking on the essential health benefits (EHBs) that plans will be required to cover under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The benefits coverage provision applies to nongrandfathered plans that went into effect after PPACA was enacted March 23, 2010, as well as plans modeled on Medicaid benchmarks and Basic Health Plans that states can elect to create.

As you may know, under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers will be required to pay for a range of preventative care services specifically aimed at women. This includes, "Comprehensive lactation support and counseling, by a trained provider during pregnancy and/or in the postpartum period, and costs for renting breastfeeding equipment." We have the opportunity to provide comments in response to the Essential Health Benefits Bulletin released on December 16, 2011, to urge the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take an active role to ensure that the Essential Health Benefits (EHB) are defined in accordance with the applicable statutory requirements. In particular, we need to urge HHS to issue guidance regarding the ten benefit categories set forth in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), including defining the “preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management” benefit category to include lactation consultant services provided by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). It is very important that IBCLCs are specifically mentioned in this policy. Please consider personalizing the sample letter included here and following the instructions for where to send it. The deadline for comments is January 31. Help us get the IBCLC written into this important preventive care service.

Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC
Director of Public Policy


New York State Medicaid Redesign Team Recommendations to Cover International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Services as a Separately Billable Service Together with Breastfeeding Education and Ancillary Breast Pumps in Redesigning its Medicaid State Plan

The United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) is a non-profit organization established to advocate for improved access to lactation care in the United States. The USLCA appreciates this opportunity to comment regarding New York’s Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Recommendations.

The USLCA recognizes that New York‘s MRT is dedicated to restructuring New York’s Medicaid program to achieve measurable improvement in health outcomes and sustainable cost control. We want to commend several of the MRT Work Groups for including breastfeeding support in their recommendations. We are also writing to urge the MRT to ensure that its recommendations are based on a complete understanding of the qualifications offered by International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credential and the lactation services that IBCLCs offer, that such recommendations provide adequate compensation for such services, and that New York consider recognizing IBCLCs as Medicaid providers in their own right. We also want to take this opportunity to recommend that New York extend coverage for ancillary breast pumps necessary to fully reap the benefits of these services.

Our comments focus on the Basic Benefit Work Group Recommendation titled “Breastfeeding Support”; the Health Disparities Work Group recommendation titled “Enhance Services to Promote Maternal and Child Health”; and the goals of the Workforce Flexibility and Change of Scope of Practice Work Group. We also provide an additional recommendation regarding the coverage of services ancillary to breastfeeding support services, which has not yet been addressed by any of the work groups.

Read More


U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action: Increase Support for Breastfeeding Families

Breastfeeding support for new families was spotlighted in an unprecedented document issued today by the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Regina Benjamin.  The Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding challenges the entire nation to work toward removing obstacles that can make it difficult for women to achieve their breastfeeding goals, and serves as a model roadmap for governments across the world to robustly address similar challenges. Read USLCA's full Press Release.