Legislative leaders block passage of chemo bill

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) are blocking passage of a bill that would help Wisconsin cancer patients receive chemotherapy pills.

The bill would require health insurance plans to provide the same coverage for expensive chemotherapy drugs taken as pills as they do for chemotherapy administered through IVs.

Fitzgerald’s brother, former Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, is now a lobbyist on behalf of the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans, an insurance industry lobby.

The bill appears to have enough support among legislators in both chambers for passage, but Vos and Scott Fitzgerald are blocking the bill from being voted upon.

On Friday, Vos transferred the bill from the Assembly Health Committee to the Insurance Committee — a step taken to make it harder to bring the bill to the floor. The move means supporters would now need to gain a two-thirds majority to force a vote on the measure.

The Senate plans to be in session on Tuesday and on April 1, then quit for the year. For ongoing coverage, visit WisPolitics.com, a media partner of BizTimes.

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