Kenosha 12-year-old and family headed to D.C. to fight for healthcare

Posted at 4:19 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 17:19:46-04

12-year-old Gabe Johnson and his family are heading to Kenosha to fight for healthcare.  

The Kenosha family doesn't consider themselves political, but healthcare hits close to home for the Johnson's.  The twins came to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin when they were born for respiratory issues.  

Gabe was diagnosed with major congenital heart defects, sending him into surgery at 9 years old.

"The left ventricle of his heart did not develop.  He only has three chambers of his heart instead of a normal four," said Jen Johnson, mom.

Now at age 12, Gabe has undergone about 50 procedures.

"Without these insurances covering co-pays our family would be in dire financial strains and I would not have the quality of life that I do," said Gabe.

Monday he's going to D.C. to meet with Speaker Paul Ryan, Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin and Congressman Ron Kind and Mark Pocan to advocate for Medicaid and CHIP, The Children's Health Insurance Program. 

"I don't think walking away with a solution is a reasonable expectation, but it's incredibly important to advocate for these things," said Nick Johnson.

Children's Hospital said children represent 50 percent of the population covered by Medicaid in Wisconsin, but only account for 15 percent of the state's Medicaid spending.  

The Johnson's will have free time in D.C.  They plan to visit museums and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.