Thursday, June 27, 2013

The House of Representatives Responds to the EDC Request to Send a Letter to Secretary Sebelius Urging Parity for Eating Disorders!

The EDC thanks all of you who responded to our action alert and reached out to your Representatives! The House of Representatives has sent a letter to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging parity for eating disorders. This is a companion letter to one the EDC did with the Senate .
 We want to especially thank our House champions, Representatives Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings and Hank Johnson. Their offices worked tirelessly with the EDC to build support for the letter and coordinated the House effort. We are very proud to announce the letter is signed by 17 Representatives. In addition to our three champions, the letter is also signed by Representatives John Conyers, Charles Rangel, Eliot Engel, James Moran , Carolyn Maloney, Lois Capps, Allyson Schwartz, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Keith Ellison, Timothy Walz, Michael Michaud , Richard Nolan, Jared Polis,  and Lois Frankel.
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act passed in 2008 (MHPAEA). Nearly five years later we are still waiting for HHS to promulgate the final regulations.  Very simply, the Parity regulations will explain how the HHS will interpret the law.  MHPAEA regulations are long overdue, and because they are so overdue we’ve seen a lot of confusion around the interpretation of parity law. See our previous post here.
This letter is so important because it not only urges HHS to promulgate the rules on Parity, but goes further requesting that HHS (1) clarify that denying coverage for residential inpatient treatment for eating disorders because there is not a ‘medical analogy’ is a violation of existing parity law and (2) applying limits to scope of treatment for eating disorders more restrictively than medical/surgical benefits is a violation of parity.  This clarity in the final rule would prevent many people suffering with an eating disorder.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lobby Days and More: EDC Moves The National Agenda on Eating Disorders Policy Forward

Our Spring Lobby Day was in April and we are busy prepping for our Fall Lobby Day (September 18). This time of year, we sometimes get the question "What does the EDC do between lobby days?”

EDC celebrates our 13th year of bringing together advocates from across the country to lobby day where we push for policies that make a difference to those suffering from eating disoders. Think of our lobby days as a cornerstone to our legislative strategy. They are crucial to our efforts; those of you who have participated know that. In between lobby days, we prepare the ground for future lobby days and build on the work of lobby days throughout the year.

So what is EDC doing?  We are actively working on making the FREED Act become law. We have regular meetings with House and Senate staff to lobby for FREED, ensure new and existing legislation includes eating disorders provisions (see blog on Mental Health Bill), the sign on letters asking Secretary Sebelius to clarify existing parity law, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In addition, we meet with the Administration when necessary and continue to increase grassroots support by reaching out to you and to other like-minded organizations. In fact EDC collaborates regularly with national organizations – more than 100 of us come together once a month to work together on promoting mental health policies.  EDC also continues to explore additional legislative priorities and policies, which will advance eating disorders policy.
Thank you to all of you for your support and be sure to join us at our Fall Lobby Day on September 18 to lend your voice to move these priorities forward! We couldn’t do what we do year-around without you.