The EDC has advocated for the following bills:
The Truth in Advertising Act of 2014 (H.R. 4341)
Purpose: This bill instructs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report on recommendations for a regulatory framework on advertising that uses post-production techniques, such as "Photoshop," to materially change the faces and bodies of people within the advertisements.
The FREED Act (Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders)
Purpose: The FREED Act was the first ever comprehensive eating disorders bill to be introduced in the history of Congress. It was drafted with input from dozens of eating disorder organizations around the country and addressed initiatives that included: creating Centers of Excellence to fill the current gap in eating disorders research, improving training of health and school professionals to appropriately identify and respond to eating disorders, and requiring insurance companies to reimburse for eating disorders treatment on par with physical illnesses.
The Eating Disorders Awareness, Prevention, and Education Act (HR 3928 IH, 2000; HR 46 IH1S, 2001; HR 873 IH, 2003; HR 49 IH, 2005; HR 88 IH, 2007)
Purpose: 1) Improve identification of students with eating disorders; 2) Increase awareness among parents and students; 3) Train educators about prevention and assistance methods
The IMPACT Act (Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity Act; H.R.5412, 2002; S.2821. 2002; S.1172, 2003; H.R.716, 2003; S.1325, 2005; H.R.5698, 2006; H.R.2677, 2007)
Purpose: Expand an existing grant program for the training of health profession students to include the treatment of overweight, obesity, and eating disorders
Promoting Healthy Eating Behaviors in Youth Act (S 2249, 2002)
Purpose: Provide grants designed to promote healthy eating behaviors in youth as an avenue for preventing eating disorders, obesity, and osteoporosis.
The EDC has supported the following Letters from Congress:
Letter to CDC on including eating disorders in national health surveillance surveys
This letter urges the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to revise the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to include questions on eating disorders. Additionally, it urges for the reinclusion of surveillance questions on eating disorders in the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS).
Eating Disorders in the Military Research Funding Letters (FY 2017, 2018, 2019)
These letters requested that eating disorders be included as eligible for research funding under the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). Funding through PRMRP offers an important opportunity to study diseases like eating disorders that are not well-understood, have few treatment options, and for which military service confers a higer risk.
Letter to HHS on Implementing the 21st Century Cures Act
The 2017 letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urges the commencement of the rulemaking process to implement the historic and bipartisan provisions of the Anna Westin Act that were included in the 21st Century Cures Act. The 2018 letter urges continued implementation of the Anna Westin Act provisions through using existing training and intervention models as examples.
*Please Note: Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Don Young (R-AK) signed on to the final letter, but are not listed on the letter linked above.*
Eating Disorders in the Military GAO Letter
This letter requests that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a comprehensive study on the Department of Defense’s TRICARE and Military Health System to evaluate the scope, prevention, and treatment of eating disorders affecting military members and their families.
Other Policy Efforts
Mental Health Parity Compliance & Guidance on Eating Disorders Treatment & Training
In 2016, the EDC was involved on The White House Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force to inform their work on mental health parity compliance regarding eating disorders. EDC submitted comments to the task force, as well as follow-up information after participating at a White House meeting with other members of the eating disorders community. The information provided by the EDC aimed to inform the White House, SAMHSA, and HRSA’s about the early identification of eating disorders and also included a presentation developed by The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, which was attached as suggested essential training on identification and assessment of eating disorders for the medical community.
Oppose Mandatory BMI testing in the schools
The EDC is against state laws that require schools to measure students' BMIs and send report cards home to parents informing them of their child's BMI.
Clarify Parity for Eating Disorders Coverage
The EDC worked with the Senate and House of Representatives to have letters sent from Members of Congress to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging her to promulgate regulations that specifically state that eating disorders must be covered at parity under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act passed in 2008 (MHPAEA). (For more information, see our blog posts)
Influence the Implementation of the Affordability Care Act (ACA)
Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, which expands health insurance coverage for Americans through state health insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses, and through an expansion of Medicaid for low-income individuals and families. ACA requires these plans to cover a set of essential health benefits (EHB) that include mental health (and substance use disorder) services. EDC is advocating that HHS make sure eating disorders are included under the mental health benefit of the EHB.
Increase NIH Funding
In 2012, the EDC successfully worked with Congress to insert report language into a funding bill for NIH that urged the agency to expand, intensify and coordinate eating disorders research.
Hold Insurance Companies Accountable
In 2011, the EDC initiated the Hold Insurance Companies Accountable Campaign (HICA Campaign) as a response to a number of insurance companies denying treatment for eating disorders. Mental Health Parity requires that any group health plan that includes mental health and substance use disorder benefits along with standard medical and surgical coverage must treat them equally. According to the nationally recognized law firm of Patton Boggs, the statute is clear that limits on the scope and duration of treatment must be applied no more restrictively in the mental health benefit than in the medical/surgical benefit. Not complying with the parity regulations is a calculated effort to avoid costs at the expense of people's health and lives. The EDC argues that treatment should be determined by severity and type of illness, rather than what is arbitrarily allowed by an individual's insurance company. Through legal and political advocacy, the EDC worked with specialized attorneys and experts in the field in an effort to put an end to such discriminatory and deadly practices. As part of the HICA Campaign, the EDC encouraged those who were receiving treatment denials to share their experiences, write letters to their insurance commissioners, and call their Members of Congress.
Challenge Obesity Initiatives
Anti-obesity efforts such as the one initiated by Michelle Obama, while often well-intentioned, are causing harm. Any school, company, agency, or other entity who is offering such a program should shift their focus to health, not weight, and incorporate the latest scientific evidence and best clinical practices to prevent the onset of new eating disorder cases and other negative consequences. The EDC worked with 35 Members of Congress and with other organizations on letters to Michelle Obama urging her to change her Let's Move (anti-obesity) Campaign. The EDC gained support from more than 40 organizations who endorsed these Congressional efforts.
EDC Authored the First Eating Disorder Congressional Scorecard
The EDC compiled and authored the first congressional scorecard in preparation for the 2018 midterm elections to inform Americans about Members of Congress' record of support for eating disorders policy. The scorecard reflected how each Member of Congress has supported eating disorders policy during the 114th and 115tth Congress. Each member was assigned a letter grade based on the number of policy items they have led or supported. Click here to view the scorecard.
Ensuring a Smooth Transition During the Attempted Repeal and Replace of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)