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.

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