Ted Deutch
Dear Friends,

I wanted to let you know that I recently introduced new legislation to help Americans struggling with deadly eating disorders get the care they need. Few people realize that eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia nervosa have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Without treatment, patients can succumb to life-threatening conditions like cardiac arrest, malnutrition, and organ failure. Meanwhile, those battling eating disorders often struggle with depression and anxiety at the same time, and tragically, those diagnosed with anorexia nervosa are 57 times more likely to commit suicide than their peers. 

Named in observance of a young woman who lost her life to eating disorders, the Anna Westin Act focuses on saving lives through training, treatment, and prevention. Recognizing the importance of early detection and treatment, the legislation directs the federal government to award grants for training medical professionals and educators to better recognize the early warning signals of eating disorders and take appropriate action. Secondly, the bill clarifies current federal mental health care law to make certain that health insurance companies cover residential treatment services for eating disorders, thus closing a loophole that jeopardizes patient access to care. Finally, this legislation would direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to complete the first-ever study into the digital manipulation of body images so prevalent in advertising, and determine whether additional regulations are needed to protect public health. 

Introduced with my friend and colleague, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the Anna Westin Act is the first federal eating disorders legislation to earn bipartisan support at introduction in a decade. Together, we are committed to advancing this legislation in the 114th Congress by building support across party lines to step up the federal fight against these devastating forms of mental illness. 

Kind regards, 

Ted Deutch