On July 22, 2013, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 26 into law as Public Act 98-0104. Mental health advocates are thrilled that this law will implement the Affordable Care Act in Illinois by expanding Medicaid to 138% of the poverty level. This expansion will result in the largest increase in mental health funding in the state since the enactment of Medicaid decades ago.
Unfortunately, the Governor did not heed our call to issue an amendatory veto of SB26. The Summit and other advocates sought this veto to remove the last minute addition of provisions greatly expanding the services to be provided by the 24 so-called “IMD” nursing homes. The Summit, however, was hearten by the “signing statement“ which accompanies the Governor’s approval of this bill. The Governor expressed his concerns about the addition of the new law governing nursing homes for people with mental illnesses (now to be called Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities) and promised to take steps to insure that the new law does not undermine Illinois’ commitment to re-balance the mental health system in Illinois away from an excessive reliance on out-dated institutions. The Summit stands ready to work with the Quinn Administration to implement this commitment.