Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2013 --- 6:12 p.m.
After more than 50 doctor visits in the past 18 months, and 2 trips to the emergency room. Autumn Nauman says her son Blake is stronger than she'll ever be, and the least she can do is fight for him.
On the outside, Blake Nauman looks like any other 18-month-old. Sticker loving, and fascinated by trains.
But there is something that sets this baby boy apart from his peers, he has Eosinophilic Esoaguitis. A rare disease that causes his white blood cells to expand in his esophagus.
"Gagging, choking, food aversion, showing signs of pain, holding his throat," says Autumn Nauman, "We didn't know what was going on, we thought, wow what's going on with our child?"
Only after multiple trips to doctors did Blake's mom, Autumn, get a diagnosis.
"Once we heard the news from the GI physician we were devastated."
Blake needs a special hypoallergenic formula called Neocate, they only thing doctors say will help. If he doesn't get it, he may eventually need a feeding tube.
That news only made worse when Autumn found out insurance wouldn't pay for the formula.
"We work very hard for our benefits where we work, we have insurance and knowing that as hard as we work, that we can't provide the essential medical care for our son is just inconceivable."
Without coverage, it would cost Autumn and her husband a thousand dollars a month to feed their son. Doctors wrote notes to the insurance company saying things like, "Without it, he could suffer permanent damage to his esophagus."
"Pediatricians will do anything for babies, and that has definitely been proven in our case."
But despite four doctors best efforts, the request was still denied.
"It's very heart wrenching to know that your child cannot have the care that they need because of lack of coverage."
She got online and found she wasn't alone, thousands across America have run into the same problem. In fact 14 other states have created laws protecting patients like Blake, including Minnesota and Illinois. Making a move across the border one of the Nauman's only options.
Autumn says she even got legal advice to separate from her husband, because maybe then, it would be covered.
"What do I do? Foreclose on my house? Not pay my bills? Divorce my husband? Move out of state and then he can have the formula that he needs? It's really what it comes down to for some people, it's horrible."
But before uprooting her family, or filing for divorce, she reached out to lawmakers-and us.
"It's unfortunate when the legislature has to step in, I'm not a doctor, I don't know what's right but I also know we need to take care of the health and well being for the people who live in this state," says Representative Melissa Sargent.
Drumming up support from both sides of the aisle.
"Autumn is moving mountains for her little boy, she's doing what every mother should," says Sargent.
And a couple phone calls and letters later, Autumn got an exciting phone call.
"We won, we did it."
The company agreed to cover the formula.
Winning the battle, but not the war. Autumn says this coverage is only for Blake because of the hoops she jumped through. She doesn't want any other mother to have to go months knowing they cant afford the medicine that could help their child.
Representative Sargent says that her office is looking to draft some legislation that would require this formula to be covered by all insurance companies, making Wisconsin the 15th state to do so. Representative Ripp is also looking into the matter.