Jim and Ashley Thicksten share their “Hear from the Heartland” story about how Trumpcare could hurt their family

“I worry about once you stop focusing on the rights of an individual, and you see someone who has a preexisting condition as maybe not quite as important as someone that doesn’t – where does it stop?”

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, released her fourth “Hear from the Heartland” video to share how Trumpcare could impact people in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District.

In the latest video, Jim and Ashley Thicksten – from Erie, Illinois – speak with Congresswoman Bustos about their concerns with Trumpcare. Specifically, Jim was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2010 and needs one medication – among others – that costs $15,000 every eight weeks. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the Thickstens were able to find affordable, comprehensive coverage. As Jim says in the video, the medication he receives “allows [him] to be a husband and a dad, and an employee. Without that medication, [he’d] be in a lot of trouble.” But under Trumpcare, they could lose access to their care – and affordable medication – because of Jim’s preexisting condition, and ultimately hit a lifetime limit on insurance coverage, forcing their family to choose between sickness and debt.

“While I’m pleased that the Senate delayed their vote on health care, the fight to protect hardworking families from the devastating Trumpcare bill is far from over,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “Families like the Thickstens who speak out about the real impact of this bill are truly making a difference, and their voices are the most important in this debate. Nobody should be forced into bankruptcy or priced out of having quality health care because they have a preexisting condition, so I’ll continue fighting for families like the Thickstens who simply want to work hard, live a healthy life and raise their son.” 

You can watch the video by clicking here or below.

Prior to serving in Congress, Rep. Bustos spent 17 years as a newspaper reporter and a decade working in healthcare before, during and after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Bustos launched “Hear from the Heartland” as a way for people from the 17th Congressional District to make their voices heard as the future of health care for them and their families is debated in Washington.

Bustos previously released “Hear from the Heartland” videos featuring:

  • Anastasia and Gryphon Aldridge: Gryphon was born with cerebral palsy, an expensive and lifelong condition. His mother Anastasia is very worried about how Gryphon’s care could be compromised by Trumpcare’s deep cuts to Medicaid and removal of essential benefits protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
  • Kathy and Ron Pearson: Six out of seven members of the Pearson family have pre-existing conditions and they are deeply concerned by how Trumpcare could undermine their access to care.
  • Joan Rawce Metzger: Joan’s husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer and needs quarterly check-ups to keep his condition in check. Despite his pre-existing condition, the Metzgers were able to find affordable and comprehensive coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. But under Trumpcare, Rawce Metzger is worried that her family will be priced out of the insurance market due to the lack of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and potentially relegated to an expensive, high-risk pool.

Over the next several weeks, she will continue releasing additional interviews she has been holding with her constituents.