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State assembly passes oral chemo bill, heads back to senate

During its last session early Friday morning, the state assembly passed a bill that would make expensive chemotherapy drugs in pill form more affordable for cancer patients
MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) - During its last session early Friday morning, the state assembly passed a bill that would make expensive chemotherapy drugs in pill form more affordable for cancer patients. But an added amendment means it still needs to go back to the senate for approval.

A push by republicans placed a maximum $100 co-pay on the potentially life-saving medicine that can cost tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket each year. The bill would require that health insurance companies charge the same for chemotherapy drugs in pill form, which can be taken at home, as they do for the IV treatments.

The bill, as it cleared the senate, did not have the $100 co-pay cap. Democrats expressed concern that the senate may not pass the bill in its current form.

"It's being brought forward as a compromise at this point," said Andre Jacque, R-De Pere. "I think I've said before, sometimes the process gets in the way of the policy and I certainly support the policy as one of the lead co-authors of the bill."

"Adding $100 a month, indexing it," said Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh. "adds considerably for the cost. So if somebody already has a high deductible plan, you're adding $1,200 a year for chemotherapy."

The senate would have to pass the bill during its April 1st session. Governor Scott Walker has said he will sign if it gets to his desk.
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