Update: May 20, 2013–Senate Bill 26, which expands Medicaid coverage to many more persons with serious mental illnesses, has been posted for a hearing in the House Human Services Committee for 9am on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 in Room C-1 in the Stratton Building. Please contact members of that committee and voice your support. You can also fill out a witness slip supporting the bill.
January 17, 2013–President Obama has recognized that Medicaid expansion is vital to fixing our broken mental health system and made this an urgent priority in his recommendations on gun violence issued yesterday. This is yet another reason to implement the Affordable Care Act in Illinois.
The Affordable Care Act is the most important piece of legislation effecting persons with mental illnesses since the enactment of Medicaid. Serious mental illnesses, while highly treatable, are often incurable, They are most commonly diagnosed during adolescence of early adulthood. Thus, they constitute “pre-existing conditions” which are used by health insurance companies to deny coverage. The Affordable Care Act helps people with serious mental illnesses because: (1) it prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage based upon a pre-existing conditon; (2) it provides substantial financial incentives to states to expand Medicaid coverage to many people with serious mental illnesses; and (3) creates less expensive insurance for persons who are not eligible for Medicaid. Persons with serious mental illnesses and all Illinois taxpayers will greatly benefit from full implementation of the ACA in Illinois. Each state can decide whether it will implement the Affordable Care Act. The passage of House Bill 106 or Senate Bill 26, which were just introduced, will insure full implementation of the ACA. The Summit urges all who care about mental health services to communicate to their state senator and state representative their support for passage of these identical bills– full implementation of the ACA.