December 08, 2016

History Made! Eating Disorders Legislation Passes Senate and House

US Capitol building with blue skyDid you know that 30 million Americans will experience an eating disorder in their lifetime?

These individuals should have better access to treatment in the near future.

Yesterday, in a historic move, the Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act/Mental Health Reform legislative package 94-5. This includes comprehensive mental health reform legislation with specific provisions for those with eating disorders!

Finally, the U.S. government has passed legislation that will:

This is a major milestone for all people living with mental health issues — and for the eating disorders community.

The next step is that the bill will go to President Barack Obama’s desk for a signature. It seems likely that he will sign the bill into law since he has openly expressed support for this bill in the past.

Support for eating disorders

You may recall us writing in the past about the Anna Westin Act of 2015 (S. 1865 / H.R. 2515). Anna Westin struggled with anorexia for five years until, sadly, she lost her life from the illness. Following Anna’s death, her mother Kitty Westin helped found the Eating Disorders Coalition, the federal lobbying organization for the eating disorders community. We thank Kitty Westin and the EDC for their incredible work in pushing this bill forward.

Here are some of the key provisions from the Anna Westin Act included in the legislation that passed yesterday:

  • Clarification of existing mental health parity law to improve health insurance coverage for eating disorders and life-saving residential treatment
  • Early identification of eating disorders trainings for health professional such as doctors
  • Enhanced information and resources to help early identification of eating disorders by the public

The passing of this law is a milestone for all who struggle – and is an incredible way to honor Westin’s life. 

You helped make this possible

We want to thank all of you who took the time to call and email your Senators and Representatives. Many of you volunteered for this cause and voiced your support for this bill.

You made a difference! Keep using your voice.

“May your dreaming never end, and your voice never die.” – Anna Westin

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