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Wisconsin Senate expected to approve Assembly chemo pill bill

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin cancer patients would start getting affordable chemotherapy pills on January 1st, if a bill that regulates the pills' insurance becomes law.

The Assembly passed an amended bill early last Friday. The Senate plans to vote on it next Tuesday. Final passage is expected, and Governor Scott Walker has agreed to sign it.

Insurance companies would have to cover chemotherapy pills the same way they cover IV chemo treatments at hospitals -- or else there would be a $100 monthly limit on out of pocket costs for the pills.

Patients have been asking for insurance coverage on the more convenient but very expensive chemo pills. As predicted, the issue has attracted strong bipartisan support in the Legislature.

The original Senate bill which mandated insurance for chemo pills passed 30-2. The Assembly bill with the co-payment cap passed 75-18.

Janesville Senate Democrat Tim Cullen called the amendment "absurd and unreasonable" but stopped short of saying he would vote against it.

GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the co-payment option could let insurers negotiate lower prices with drug companies -- thus helping patients and their employer provided health plans.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)