About three weeks ago, I sent an e-mail to my local member of the House of Representatives (who also, just so happens to be the Speaker of the House) urging his support for the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders Act (FREED Act). I did it rather on impulse, really. And trust me when I say, I am not an impulsive person. I have never sent a letter to any government official, let alone the Speaker of the House. I simply spoke from the heart; without regard to how Sen. Boehner may judge my story. I not only told him my history of eating disorders and lack of affordable/effective treatments, but also how the FREED Act would positively affect, not only me, but everyone who suffers from an eating disorder.
Well, yesterday, completely out of the blue, I got a response:
Dear Rachel :
Thank you for contacting me regarding eating disorders. It is good to hear from you.
On May 22, 2013, Representative Theodore Deutch (D-FL) introduced the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders (FREED) Act of 2013 (H.R. 2101). The legislation would require the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to take certain actions regarding eating disorder research, including: (1) implement a scientifically justified budget for research on eating disorders; (2) coordinate and evaluate NIH research activities and programs on eating disorders; (3) expand NIH research on eating disorders; (4) establish a task force on eating disorder research; and (5) provide for centers of excellence for research on eating disorders. H.R. 2101 would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to: (1) provide for the collection, analysis, and reporting of epidemiological data on eating disorders; (2) establish a Center of Eating Disorders Epidemiology to collect and analyze information on eating disorders; and (3) establish a CDC clearinghouse for the collection and storage of data generated under this bill. Further, the legislation sets forth provisions providing for education and training on eating disorders, including requirements for: (1) developing and implementing a training program for health professionals on eating disorders; (2) establishing the Task Force on Eating Disorders Prevention in Educational Institutions to develop and provide training on eating disorders identification and prevention for students, faculty, coaches, and staff in schools; and (3) conducting public service announcements. H.R. 2101 would also require a group health plan that provides medical and surgical benefits to also provide coverage for eating disorders.
I recognize the devastating impact eating disorders can have on one’s short-term and long-term health, and in other areas such as educational attainment. H.R. 2101 has been referred to the House Committees on Energy & Commerce, Ways & Means, Oversight & Government Reform, and Education & the Workforce for consideration. Rest assured I will keep your thoughts in mind as H.R. 2101 moves through the legislative process.
Thank you again for contacting me with your thoughts. Please don’t hesitate to inform me of your concerns in the future. To sign up for email updates, I invite you to visit my website at http://johnboehner.house.gov .
John A. Boehner
Member of Congress
(for some reason, it is impossible to cut and paste the email in here in one piece)
I’m glad to see that eating disorders are finally being taking seriously as the horrible, life-threatening disease they are. It is about time for eating disorders to be destigmatized, removed from their stereotype and treated like any other medical condition. If you would like to contact your state representative about the FREED Act (or any other issue), click here.
“do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you”