Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) said his daughter’s life was saved because his family had the freedom to find the doctors they needed to literally reconstruct her infant heart. Johnson also said the medical innovation that saved his daughter’s life will be stifled by Obamacare, should the law be allowed to stand. It is being challenged this week before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Johnson went on to say that it was the passage of Obamacare that drove him to run for the U.S. Senate.
“I would not have run for the U.S. Senate had Obamacare not been passed,” Johnson told CNSNews.com on Tuesday.
“During the initial health care debate when President Obama – and this may not be an accurate paraphrase but it’s exactly what he meant – [said] these money-grubbing doctors will take out a set of tonsils for a few extra bucks. I found that deeply offensive,” Johnson said.
“I told the story of our daughter, our first child, who was born with a very serious congenital heart defect,” said Sen. Johnson. “The first day of [her] life, one of those money-grubbing – and of course I use that facetiously – a wonderful human being came in at 1:30 in the morning and saved her life with a procedure. Then, eight months later when her heart was the size of a small plum, in seven hours of open-heart surgery, another incredibly dedicated team of medical professionals totally reconstructed the upper chamber of her heart.”
Johnson’s daughter was born with her aorta and pulmonary artery reversed. Known as a Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA), this condition causes oxygen-poor blood to be circulated to the body and prevents the lungs from infusing blood with oxygen normally, causing a newborn to turn blue from lack of oxygen. Because the body cannot survive long without oxygen, the condition is fatal if not treated immediately with reconstructive surgery.
“Her heart operates backwards now,” Johnson explained. “But, she’s 28 years old, she’s a nurse herself in a neonatal intensive care unit, she’s studying to be a nurse practitioner, [and] she’ll be graduating in June.”
“The point here as it relates to the health care law is we had such a wonderful result because we had the freedom to actually call up Boston Children’s, Chicago Children’s and talk to the world’s best heart surgeons to find out what is the most advanced corrective surgical technique for this condition,” said the senator.
Johnson said that doctors in Chicago, where procedures were more advanced than in his native Milwaukee, were able to use an innovative procedure that would allow his daughter’s heart to grow normally, giving her a chance at a normal life.
“We found that rather than use Dacron to rebuild the upper chamber of her heart we found that there was a surgical technique that used pericardial tissue, which would grow with the heart,” said Johnson. “So Carey’s result has been really exceptional.”
Johnson said that the “happy ending” his family had may not be possible under Obamacare if the law stifles health care innovation.
“Our story has a happy ending because we had that freedom,” said Johnson. “That’s what this health care law is all about, it’s an assault on our freedom. It’s going to lower the quality of our care. It’s going to lead to rationing. The types of medical innovation that saved my daughter’s life [and] that saves millions of Americans -- I wont’ say it’s going to come to a grinding halt but it’s going to be severely limited.”