The legislation (SB-300) is designed to lower the costs of oral chemotherapy treatment for Wisconsin cancer patients. Under the new law, health insurance companies are required to cover expensive chemo pills, if they already provide coverage for traditional chemotherapy treatments. Supporters say some patients are paying $1,000 to $3,000 a month for their share of the out-of-pocket expense to cover this type of treatment. Opponents argue the bill, which caps co-pays at $100 a month, leaves too many loopholes for insurance companies to exploit and charge more.
Governor Scott Walker signed the so-called Cancer Treatment Fairness Act into law on Thursday. The Senate and Assembly authors of the measure — State Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and State Representative Pat Strachota (R-West Bend) — issued a statement thanking the governor for making this parity measure a top priority:
“His quick action will mean that the next health plan people get in January will fairly treat both oral chemotherapy and traditional intravenous chemotherapy. Wisconsin will become the 30th state that is keeping up with current technology in the fight against cancer. Treatment should be based on the disease and not your wallet. The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act makes sure life-saving decisions are between patients and their doctor.”
The governor signed the bill at the Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center in Wauwatosa.