We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

Speak up for cancer therapy coverage

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By John W. Eyster
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Are YOU aware that 2 persons – Scott Fitzgerald, Majority Leader of the WI Senate and Robin Vos, Majority Leader of the WI Assembly – are PREVENTING ACTION by the MAJORITY of OUR WI STATE LEGISLATORS (Senate and Assembly) to pass Senate Bill 300 which would require health insurance companies to cover CHEMOTHERAPY DRUGS TAKEN AS PILLS as they do for chemotherapy drugs taken through IVs!  Is this DEMOCRACY?  MAJORITY RULE?  I do NOT think so.  What do YOU think?

YOU need to be aware of the fact that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s BROTHER, Jeff Fitzgerald is a contract lobbyist for the insurers who want to kill the bill.  Is this about Scott’s being his brother’s keeper?!  Scott has NOT been candid as to WHY he opposes the bill.  His excuse that the SENATE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS does NOT support it has been evaporating.  There are at least 13 of 18 REPUBLICAN SENATORS along with ALL 15 DEMOCRAT SENATORS who support the bill.  That’s 28 of the 33 State Senators.  I urge you to read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s article, “Wisconsin senators heavily support cancer drug bill; no vote planned.” BUT THE SENATE MAJORITY LEADER WILL NOT LET THE SENATE VOTE!  This is majority rule?!

YOU need to be aware of the fact that Assembly Majority Leader Robin Vos has used unusual “tricks” in the detailed rules of the Assembly to prevent a vote on the bill.  And the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel list of legislators shows 22 Republicans supporting the bill along with ALL 39 Democrats meaning that 71 of the 99 Assembly members support the bill.  That’s more than 2/3 of the Assembly.  BUT THE MAJORITY LEADER WILL NOT LET THE ASSEMBLY VOTE!  This is majority rule?!

The situation is the MORE INTENSE since the present Assembly calendar plans for the Assembly to be in session only TODAY and THURSDAY (3/20) before ADJOURNING FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR!  Yes, they could schedule additional floor sessions, but…  IF THE ASSEMBLY DOES NOT PASS THE EXACT SAME BILL as the bill passed by the Senate, the bill is DEAD this session!

I totally agree with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s editorial published on Sunday, March 16, “Cancer bill gets rough treatment from Scott Fitzgerald.”

The editorial makes a strong statement in its conclusion, “This is a matter of fairness for people facing grave illness. Whatever his motivations, Fitzgerald is singlehandedly blocking a bill that most of his colleagues support and that could help people — probably some of his own constituents. He should allow the bill to come to the floor.” 

I URGE YOU to contact YOUR SENATOR and ASSEMBLY REPRESENTATIVE TODAY to SUPPORT HER/HIM if s/he SUPPORTS THIS SIGNIFICANT BILL for appropriate fairness of coverage of cancer drugs.  OR, to EXPLAIN to HER/HIM that s/he NEEDS to SUPPORT the bill.  Regardless, ask YOUR representatives to PRESSURE FITZGERALD and VOS to bring the bill to the floor for a vote by the SENATE or ASSEMBLY so that ALL MEMBERS are able to cast her/his vote NOW!

WHY shouldn’t ALL the members of OUR Senate and Assembly be able to VOTE on this significant bill?  I am HAPPY to report that MY SENATOR (Tim Cullen) and MY ASSEMBLY REPRESENTATIVE (ANDY JORGENSEN) both SUPPORT the bill.  What is the stance of YOUR representatives?

List of Senators posted at the end of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s article, “Wisconsin senators heavily support cancer drug bill; no vote planned.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s list of Assembly Representatives’ stance on the bill.

You may want to read the Legislative Reference Bureau’s analysis of the bill because it provides a “normal English” summary.  Scroll down to heading, “Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau.”


John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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