The Wisconsin state Senate is scheduled to vote today on legislation that will enable cancer patients to access oral chemotherapy without paying very high co-pays for the pill-based therapy.
“We’re finding that some patients are falling through the cracks, and sometimes paying $1,000 to $3,000 a month for their share of the out-of-pocket to cover this,” said Paul Westrick, state chairman of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The Assembly passed the bill last week after adding a $100 monthly co-pay cap. The Senate had previously passed the legislation without that cap, requiring a second vote before the bill goes to Governor Scott Walker for his signature.
“We have a coalition of over 25 organizations, health care providers, physician groups, advocacy groups that have been promoting this bill since August,” said Westrick. “We appreciate the adjustments that were made in the Assembly. We still feel this is a good bill.”
Today is the last session day of the year for the Senate, which has a lengthy schedule of bills to consider.
The lawmakers will also take up legislation that will allow the use of cannabidiol, a marijuana derivative, for the treatment of children with seizure disorders. The bipartisan bill cleared the Assembly on a voice vote.
A bill requiring Wisconsin law enforcement agencies to bring in outside agencies to investigate the deaths of persons in custody was drafted in response to the deaths of several men in recent years, including the 2012 shooting death of Paul Heenan by an officer in Madison, and the 2011 death of Derek Williams in a Milwaukee squad car. No officers were charged in either man’s death.