Governor Rauner Joins Rep. Peter Breen in Lombard for Signing of “Charlie’s Law”

This morning Governor Bruce Rauner joined State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) and other elected officials to sign landmark legislation that makes Illinois the first state in the nation to provide insurance coverage of medically-advised treatments for PANDAS (pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections). HB 2721 was signed into law as Public Act 100-0024 and will be known as “Charlie’s Law.”

Breen, Chief Co-Sponsor of HB 2721, invited the Governor to sign the bill at the Lombard home of Kate Drury, whose son Charlie developed severe mental health complications after a case of strep throat, at the age of eight. After the diagnosis, the Drury family had to pay out of pocket for expensive treatments to reset the boy’s autoimmune system. Also present at the signing was Wendy Nawara and her son, also named Charlie, who suffered from PANDAS. Together with other area parents, Kate and Wendy have worked tirelessly to pass HB 2721. “Charlie’s Law” is named for both Kate’s and Wendy’s sons.

“In cases of PANDAS, a strep infection causes the immune system to essentially attack the brain, leading to obsessive-compulsive behavior or other extreme or harmful behaviors,” said Breen. “No child should have to suffer through the neurological effects of this devastating syndrome, just because their families cannot afford the costly treatment regimen. Moving forward, because of the passage of this bill, every insurance company in Illinois will cover medically-recommended treatments for PANDAS.”

Prior to the bill signing, Governor Rauner praised the bipartisanship that was involved in the legislation’s approval in the House and Senate. “Our young people should be the top priority in everything we do in the state of Illinois,” said Rauner. “Today shows what we can get done when we work in a bipartisan basis and move quickly and expeditiously. Illinois will now be the first state in America to guarantee insurance coverage for this vicious disease.”

The bill received unanimous support from lawmakers in the House and Senate this spring.

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