The Oral Chemotherapy Bill — Signed Into Law

In an earlier post we discussed the handling by the Wisconsin State Senate of the oral chemotherapy bill and asked you to consider if the underlying maneuvering, which put the status of the bill in danger, met with your approval. The Senate eventually overwhelmingly passed the bill in a bipartisan fashion, with Sen. Alberta Darling, one of the sponsors, making her strong support for the bill well known to her colleagues and others. Sen. Peter Barca similarly was a persuasive advocate for the bill. The reasoning of Senators Darling, Barca, and others prevailed, as only two senators voted against the bill.

The bill then made its way to the state legislature’s other chamber, the Assembly.  Then, after maneuvering orchestrated in large part by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos that, perhaps to the delight of insurance companies, again raised questions about the bill’s future, the Assembly voted on and passed the bill, again with strong bipartisan support. Majority Leader Pat Strachota, another sponsor of the bill, was one of many arguing forcefully for the bill. Rep. Gary Hebl of Sun Prairie not only was a forceful advocate, he spoke strongly against approving an amendment offered to satisfy certain members of the Assembly which would allow insurers to impose a monthly co-pay.

One problem, existed, however. The bill the Assembly passed contained the co-pay amendment, much to the frustration of many in the Assembly and in the Senate. As a result, the bill had to go back to the Senate, where that body then passed the Assembly’s version of the bill. It then needed only the Governor’s signature.

Governor Scott Walker signed this bill on April 3, 2014, in a bill signing ceremony at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Froedtert Hospital Cancer Center in Milwaukee.  I was happy to be present at the bill signing.  The Triumph Fund believes that the passage and signing of this bill represents a victory for those whose lives are or will be affected by cancer.

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