Community members show support for two local Portage residents, Tim and Jessica Fisch.
Tim Fisch was diagnosed with cancer last October. He and his wife, Jessica Fisch, are long-time residents of Northwest Indiana and will struggle to pay medical bills.
Tim and Jessica currently have health insurance through Jessica’s employer, Ameristar Casino. Tim and Jessica had health insurance through UNITE HERE Local 1’s health insurance trust fund until Ameristar cut the affordable, family-supporting union health plan that union workers had enjoyed for years. Now, community members are pouring out to show support and raise funds to help defer the costs of Ameristar’s health plan that will begin in May.
In order for Jessica to have claims paid by the Pinnacle High Use Plan through the end of 2016 she will have to pay $3,839. The provider under the Pinnacle Health Plan initially denied coverage for Tim’s prescription for Erbitux, his chemo treatments for cancer. This resulted in a 12 day delay for getting much needed medication.
A fundraiser, planned by Jessica’s coworkers and other casino union members, at McBride Hall on January 27th had a bake sale, silent auction, music, wine and beer, and more. The event was able to raise $6,540.40 thanks to local businesses, community organizations, labor unions, local residents, friends, and family. All proceeds went to Tim and Jessica Fisch.
“Me and my family just wanted to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for everything last night! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” said Jessica.
Under the Union health plan, Jessica and Tim would have had access to the “Cancer Care” program and be assigned a cancer patient advocate who would provide emotional support, talk to providers and make sure questions are answered, and help understand what’s happening to make the best treatment decisions.
Cleaners, servers, and bartenders at Ameristar called for a boycott of the property, asking customers to gamble elsewhere until workers achieve a fair contract. The boycott immediately drew support from dozens of organizations including the United Steelworkers, representing 70,000 members and the Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor, representing around 41,000 members, as well as East Chicago City Council members.
Thank you to our donors:
Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor
Strack and Van Till
Lake County Federation of Police #72
US Congressman Pete Visclosky
State Senator Karen Tallian
State Representative Charles Moseley
American Federation of Teachers 511