Gov. Walker says he will sign cancer drugs bill

MADISON (WITI) — Gov. Scott Walker says he would sign into law a bill passed by the Senate and pending approval in the Assembly that would make chemotherapy drugs in pill form more affordable for cancer patients.

The Assembly is set to vote on the bill on Thursday, March 20th.

The "Cancer Treatment Fairness Act" would make the cost of chemotherapy pills and IV chemotherapy equal by "prohibiting higher co-payments regardless of the benefit category." Currently, insurance companies charge more for oral chemotherapy.

"I'll sign the bill. It just makes sense that it's affordable for everybody," Gov. Scott Walker said.

Jennifer Grandkoski of Menomonee Falls was diagnosed with leukemia 13 years ago. Her doctors put her on effective but expensive chemo pills.

"The financial effects of having to pay for the oral chemo that I was treated with has devastated me. I can remember my mom being at the pharmacy just begging to run it through differently so we didn`t have to pay it that way," Grandkoski said.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) says the pressure is on Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to get the bill through the Assembly during the final day of the session.

"Time is running out. I think the vote of 30 to 2 sends a very loud message to Speaker Vos that the people of Wisconsin want this," Sen. Erpenbach said.

Vos on Tuesday said the Assembly would consider making changes to the proposal before voting on whether to pass it on Thursday.

One of the two senators who voted against the bill is Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee).

"This is for private sector insurance, which is only about 29 percent of the state. Self-insured companies aren't going to be covered by this, and the public sector insurance aren't going to be covered by it," Sen. Farrow said.

"This would be hardly a mandate for most providers out there.  Most are already down this path. This would be ensuring that nobody falls through the cracks on something that's really vital and important," Gov. Walker said.

Grandkowski says she wants the Assembly to pass this bill.

"I'm hoping that they pass this bill.  It will make such a difference in the lives of so many people. It's just something that needs to be done," Grandkowski said.

The Assembly meets at 1:00 p.m. at the state Capitol Thursday for its final day this session.

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