Durbin To Highlight Chicagoland Family's Health Care Story During First Day Of Supreme Court Nomination Hearing

WASHINGTON – On the first day of the Supreme Court nomination hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will share the health care story of his constituent, Kenny Murray, who is able to get the care he needs through protections enshrined in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Sue and Ken Murray’s second child, Kenny, was diagnosed in utero with multiple complex congenital heart defects.  Before his first birthday, Kenny had two open-heart surgeries at Advocate Children’s Hospital outside of Chicago, and he had a third at 14 months.  In just the first four months of his life while staying in the pediatric ICU, Kenny’s health care cost $1 million.

When Kenny was born in November 2013, his father’s work-based health insurance had a lifetime maximum cap of $1 million.  Before the ACA, insurance companies could set caps on how much they would pay toward a patient’s medical care.

The ACA’s ban on insurance companies imposing lifetime limits on coverage went into place in January 2014—six days before Kenny’s first surgery.  If it weren’t for the ACA, Sue and Ken would have hit that lifetime limit for Kenny in just four months and likely would have gone bankrupt.  Kenny was able to get the life-saving care he needed because of the ACA.

“Kenny’s incredible story is one of millions where families have relied on essential protections in the Affordable Care Act in order to afford health insurance and access the critical care they need during a scary and difficult time,” Durbin said.  “As a parent myself of a child who faced a serious health condition, I know the importance of preserving the protections that millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions depend upon.  This is what is at stake with this Supreme Court nomination.  We cannot allow Senate Republicans and President Trump to take away Kenny’s health care.”

“My six year old son Kenny’s life is on the line with future of the Affordable Care Act.  If it’s overturned, the protections for him and millions of others are eliminated with no replacement.  The Affordable Care Act protections are life and death for my son.  I urge all U.S. leaders to consider the magnitude of overturning the Affordable Care Act with nothing in its place to protect our children,” said Sue Murray. “The Affordable Care Act protections have saved my son’s life; and will continue to protect him.  I urge all parents to think of their children and what price tag can be placed on them.  The answer is you can’t.  All Americans deserve quality, affordable healthcare.”

Video of Sue Murray sharing her family’s story and the importance of the Affordable Care Act is available here.

A photo of Durbin and the Murray family is available here.

When Kenny came home from the hospital, he was on oxygen, wore a 24/7 cardiac event monitor, and was on 20 daily medications.  Since then, Kenny has undergone speech, occupational, nutritional, and development therapies that helped him prepare to start school.   Kenny is now in first grade and plays baseball. 

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.