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Wisconsin Senate approves amended chemo pill bill

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Cancer patients scored another big victory Tuesday afternoon at the State Capitol.

On a 26-7 vote, the Wisconsin Senate gave final legislative approval to requiring either insurance coverage or affordable co-pays for chemotherapy pills that patients can take at home. Senators ratified a change made by the Assembly to make health insurers either provide coverage for the chemo pills, or charge co-pays of no more than $100 a month.

Janesville Democrat Tim Cullen -- a former health insurance executive -- said patients could still be left on the hook for hundreds of dollars a month. That's because many prescriptions require a combination of chemo drugs, which could each have its own co-pay.

Also, Cullen said it could open the door to higher deductibles and more co-pays for other medicines. Cullen called the bill a, "complete giveaway to the health insurance industry."

But the bill's main supporter, former cancer patient Alberta Darling, said the bill is a compromise that needs to be approved. The River Hills Republican said she would work with the insurance commissioner's office to make sure the law is carried out as intended with the firm $100 cap.

The bill now goes to Governor Scott Walker, who promises to sign it.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)