Durbin Highlights Buffalo Grove Resident's Health Care Story As Third Day Of Supreme Court Nomination Hearing Begins

WASHINGTON – As the third day of the Supreme Court nomination hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett begins today, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, shared the health care story of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, resident Jared Ray, who has relied upon protections enshrined in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to access lifesaving health care treatments.  Earlier this year, Jared, 20, began experiencing increasingly severe headaches. After a month of suffering, he asked his father Mike to drive him to the emergency department in nearby Glenview.  A CT scan revealed a mass on Jared’s brain and he was immediately transported to Evanston Hospital for emergency surgery. Weeks later Jared was diagnosed with medullablastoma, a cancerous brain tumor on the cerebellum. 

Post-surgery, he began an aggressive 6-week proton radiation protocol and is currently one round into eight rounds of chemotherapy at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.  Jared’s bills for his treatments quickly added up to more than $700,000 before insurance.  Before the ACA, health insurance plans typically imposed lifetime limits on coverage and the amount of benefits they would pay for.  Fortunately, the ACA eliminated those lifetime limits, prohibited insurance companies from declining coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions, and  has allowed Jared to remain covered by his mother Mary’s employer-based insurance until the age of 26.

“For millions of Americans facing cancer, diabetes, or other pre-existing conditions, having access to affordable and quality health insurance can make all the difference. Using protections in the Affordable Care Act, Jared was able to get lifesaving care without his family going bankrupt,” Durbin said. “Senate Republicans and President Trump are moving at breakneck speed to eliminate this landmark health care law. What’s at stake is access to quality health care and essential protections for millions of patients in Illinois, like Jared, in the middle of a pandemic.”

“Any parent would be shocked and terrified in this situation. If the ACA is abolished and if my employer elects not to offer coverage for dependents up until age 26, that puts Jared at risk for being uninsured and also uninsurable, because he will have a pre-existing condition,”  Mike and Mary Ray, Jared’s parents, said. “Jared would not have access to this type of care if it were not for ACA, because he wouldn’t be insured. It’s been a huge benefit to us.”

Video of the Ray family sharing their story and the importance of the Affordable Care Act is available here.

A photo of Jared Ray and his family is available here.

Tens of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions—including an estimated five million in Illinois—would lose protections if the ACA is eliminated. This includes the seven million Americans—and more than 300,000 Illinoisans—who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.