The Update is at the bottom.
Sorry to post twice in a day
If you've been horrified about how the Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leader has been using every power he has to prevent even bringing a bill providing parity between IV and oral anti-cancer drugs to the floor of the Legislature, I have good news. The public shaming worked.
And then there's the lack of shame in the always odious Republican dominated Waukesha County which I'll get to later (spoiler: Kathy Nicklaus is back!).
But on to the main story: Scott Fitzgerald has withheld a bill which would provide coverage for oral chemotherapy at the same level as infused chemotherapy. Currently, IV chemo is covered by insurance, while oral chemotherapy falls under an insurance companyies drug plan with deductables, co-payments, and even "not covered" applying to those meds. This has left cancer patients with tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt as many of the anti-cancer drugs cost upwards of $10,000 per month. Some cancer drugs are ONLY available in oral form.
Chemotherapy has been trending towards the use or oral chemotherapy where possible, leaving patients in the lurch because the drugs, if they are covered at all, fall under the drug plan.
Scott Fitzgerald has been vilified in the media with frequent references to his brother, a former Wisconsin State Assembly leader, now a lobbyist for the insurance industry which opposes this legislation. On top of that, Fitzgerald himself admits that without his with holding of the bill, it would pass with bipartisan support.
The whole thing smelled and the stink has fallen on Fitz.
Well, today, the smell reached high levels and Fitzgerald relented and allowed the bill onto the State Senate floor. And passed, 30-2 with Fitzgerald voting in favor. The two opposed? My own Tea Bagger State Senator, the odious Leah Vukmir, and a fellow Republican Paul Farrow from Pewaukee in Waukesha (suriprise!) County. Another Republican, Neal Kedzie from Elkhorn didn't bother to show up for the vote.
And now the bill is off to the Republican dominated Assembly, where Democrats don't even have to show up for quorum.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau had bottled up the bill despite overwhelming support from Republicans and Democrats, but he relented Tuesday after meeting with his fellow Republicans. His decision came as Democrats threatened to force repeated votes on the measure Tuesday and other leaders of Fitzgerald's own caucus demanded a vote on the measure.(bolding is mine)
The bill continues to face hurdles in the Assembly. In that house, 31 of the 60 majority Republicans have refused to say where they stand on the measure. Five Assembly Republicans oppose the bill and two say they are undecided.
At least 22 Assembly Republicans support the measure, as do all 39 Democrats, meaning the bill has at least 61 votes in the 99-member chamber.
That's right, folks. A majority of the majority (all Republicans) have REFUSED to say where they stand on this issue.
More shaming is needed.
In a surprise move, after several recurring episodes of errors in vote counting, Kathy Nicklaus was shamed into not running for Waukesha County Clerk. He last foul up was conveniently "finding" votes for Waukesha Countys biggest city, Brookfield, 3 days after an election where a Democrat had been named the winner in a Wisconsin State Supreme Court election. The votes were enough to overturn the results and give RWNJ David (the choker) Prosser another 8 years in office.
The Town of Waukesha has seen two clerk-treasurers resign in the last three months, with the most recent last Friday. With an election in less than two weeks, the town is now turning to former Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.And the election she will be overseeing in 2 weeks could shift the balance of power in the city of Waukesha where 1 seat needs to change hands.
It seems that when election results need some massaging, like the Ghostbusters say, "Who you gonna call?".
And (another surprise), Kathy Nicklaus is already running for one of those Waukesha County Supervisor seats herself. Seems she can't get off the government teat.
Sounds like some more shaming is in order here, too.
SAD UPDATE: DownstateDemocrat posted a comment about a tweet and now it's official. Assembly
Democrats Republicans have blocked the oral chemo bill by a vote of 58-38 on a party line vote. Several Republicans didn't even show up to vote. Democrats completely supported the bill. (ed. note. sorry for the earlier error and thanks for a Kossack pointing out the screw up. That's what I get after doing and tending 2 diaries, reading and commenting on others, and reading the news at the same time. My apologies.)
The Roll Call of Shame can be viewed here.