Monday, March 17, 2014

Wisconsin Citizens Need Cancer Drug Bill; No Vote Planned

By Jeff Simpson

H/T our friends a Malcontends:

Update - Woke up to a scathing editorial this morning in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau, Wisconsin) "taking extraordinary measures to block" Senate Bill 300, a measure requiring "oral chemotherapy drugs to be covered the same way as IV treatments."

Despite overwhelming support, Fitzgerald is blocking the measure from coming to a vote, with Scott Walker's approval.

A vote. Voting for stuff; it's what a democratic Republic is designed to do.

Who besides Fitzgerald, Scott Walker and the health insurance industry comes out in favor of blocking cancer treatment?

While I always recommend reading Macontends blog, I believe he gives the Journal Sentinel Editors a bit too much credit!

Let's look at their editorial  

  More than two-thirds of GOP senators and four-fifths of the state Senate now publicly support a bipartisan bill to help cancer patients get critical treatments, but the measure is still being blocked by the head of that house.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said Wednesday he's going to unusual steps to block the proposal because a majority of his GOP caucus opposes it, not because his brother is lobbying on behalf of influential insurers to kill the bill.

But a review by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shows that as of Friday, at least 13 of the 18 Republicans in the state Senate and all 15 Democrats have taken a public stance in support of the legislation. In the Senate, Fitzgerald is now the main force holding back the bill, drawing on one of his body's most arcane rules to keep the legislation trapped in the committee he chairs.

"The result of that bill passing would be chemotherapy would be cheaper for many families and people would have healthier lives," said Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), asking why Fitzgerald was using the rare maneuver to prevent that. "He and his (Republican) caucus owe families an explanation for why that is."
 Ok, they spell it out clearly that a majority of Senators support it, it has bipartisan support and Scott Fitzgerald went to great lengths to block a vote.   Now lets get to the kicker, the scathing words condemning Fitzgerald and Vos for these despicable actions. 

You can read every word here!   

Now you ask yourself: Why is  there no vote scheduled(besides the obvious that Fitz the elder is protecting Fitz the lesser)?

You can ask yourself,  Why won't Scott Walker condemn this attack on our democracy and on the people of WI?  After all Scott Walker recently came out and said the MOST pressing issue for the people of the state of Wisconsin is that we need to enact obstacles for the poor and minorities to vote.  He should know, if he ever talks to his Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, that if you are a cancer survivor and need Chemo, than the last thing on your mind is voting.   

The answer is simple.  It boils down to pleasure and pain. While there are dire consequences for the people who will suffer for this bill being blocked, there are NO consequences for the despicable people blocking this bill.  

In a "scathing"editorial, not a single bad word about Fitzgerald or Vos, that comes from someone other than a Democrat.  Fitzgerald, Vos and Walker know that come November, the papers of record will endorse them, the Democrats will not use it as a campaign issue and the voters will not hold it against them. 

Sure some people will be very sick and might even not make it through because they can not afford this treatment, but they will be too busy trying to find other ways to fight cancer or mourning the loss of their loved one to speak up. 

Photo: The utter contempt this shows for Wisconsin families dealing with cancer is appalling. Their suffering, their illness, means nothing more than a money-making opportunity for insurance companies.

Have you no sense of decency, Senator Fitzgerald? Do you really expect us to buy that your refusal to bring this legislation to the floor has nothing to do with your brother being a lobbyist for the health insurance industry?

I am beyond disgusted. And completely fed up. And I know I'm not alone. 

"Wisconsin senators heavily support cancer drug bill; no vote planned":

~Worley Dervish

 For all of the non-doctors out there(and in the legislature), here is a quick reference guide to what oral chemotherapy is:

What is oral chemotherapy?

Today there are many types of chemotherapy (chemo). Oral chemo is any drug you are taking by mouth to treat cancer. Oral chemo is not put into the body with a needle, but is taken as a liquid, tablet, or capsule that you swallow.
Chemo taken by mouth is as strong as the other forms and works just as well. One of the best ways you can help fight the cancer is by taking your chemo exactly the way your doctor or nurse tells you to.
Some chemo drugs are never taken by mouth because the stomach can’t absorb them. Others may cause harm when swallowed. In fact, most chemo drugs are put in through an IV (intravenous) line in a person’s vein. The chemo you take by mouth is easier because it can be taken at home. You don’t need to go into a hospital or clinic for every treatment.
Still, oral chemo drugs cost a lot. Many times you have to pay more out of pocket for them than the IV drugs. If you have insurance, this might mean a higher co-pay. Make sure you know how much you will have to pay for each treatment.
Sometimes chemo is given in cycles. This cuts down on the harm to healthy cells and allows the drugs to kill more cancer cells. Your doctor will decide if you need to get your treatment every day, every week, every few weeks, or every month.


  1. If the Republicans are doing any internal polling at all, they will realize this looks very bad for them as the election approaches. How will they spin denying cancer patients oral chemotherapy? That's a tough one. If the Burke campaign goes all out on this issue right now, it may even force that lizard-brained bastard Walker to do the right thing. What's the downside for Burke on this? I don't see it.

  2. Gareth,

    Many things that they are doing are unexplainable.

    1. Totally off topic but--- Are you effing kidding me?! Here we go again...

  3. and who knows how these Republicans would really vote on the floor on this issue. It is all nicey-wicey to say you will vote for something if you know in your caucus there will be no floor vote.

  4. My Republican in-laws both had parents die while on Medicaid. One of them had cancer and was not, at that time, denied cancer treatment. Doyle was governor, and for as many reasons that I didn't like him, Doyle never made it his position to deny Medicaid patients chemo. For that, Doyle is a far better man than Walker & Fitz.

  5. Wisconsin Republican legislators = KILLERS

  6. Individual Republican legislators *approve* of this bill, knowing full well that Fitz will sit on it. So that protects Republican legislators at the next election.

    But as the article notes, not one single Republican legislator denounces Fitz for the move...again, because they know full well that he has no intention of moving this forward.

    Ingenious evil in the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

    1. Is it possible that there is some research showing that cancer patients who are most likely to take oral chemotherapy would be likely Democratic voters?

      One would think that cancer would cut equally across all political lines; so that opposing equal treatment for oral cancer drugs would negatively impact Republican voters equal to Democratic voters.

      But maybe, just maybe, with the Fitzgerald's connections to researchers at Koch Industries and ALEC, maybe they are relying on some research that shows more Democratic voters will die over the next 20 years if this bill does not pass. Chilling !

    2. It is possible this has to do with Obamacare/ACA? Failure to pass this legislation will probably increase patient costs. If that is true this would be the perfect issue for the Dems to run with right now. How much more will the most common oral cancer drug cost cost would make a great 30 sec ad.

    3. Please be aware of this sensitive development.
      In November 2012, Mary Czaja was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly as a Republican member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from the 35th district.
      Czaja is also the owner of CIS Insurance Group in Tomahawk, Wisconsin.
      In January, Czaja was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, and is now going through 16 weeks of chemotherapy along with four to seven weeks of radiation treatment.
      “I had done everything right, everything preventative I could do, and here I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Czaja to the Antigo Daily Journal. “Women can never let their guard down. We must always be vigilant about our health.”
      We wish for her to have a healthy recovery.
      Health care is a primary consideration for us all, regardless of political affiliation. How it is paid for is key to receiving health care or not.

    4. And Czaja followed along with every one of her fellow Republicans to delay this bill in the Assembly today. Party unity over common good and common sense- the words today's GOP lives by.

      It only ends when we end their tenure in office.

  7. Walker could bring this bill to his desk in a minute. He values the donor dollars that the insurance industry provides his campaign and that of his Republican legislators far more than he cares about people suffering from cancer. It is their plan [Walker, Vos and Fitzgerald ] to delay the bill as the legislative session is about to end and they figure that everyone will forget this come November's election. Yes the endorsements from his media friends will undoubtedly still occur but it's up to all of this to keep this front and center as an election issue. Burke will be criticized if she uses cancer patients as a campaign issue. But this action by Walker and the other two is morally and ethically reprehensible and we must make sure that we make it an issue for voters as they have crossed the line on this one. All of Walker's money cannot buy his way out of this truth and there is no way he can spin it and get away throwing Fitz under the bus. When all the Republican voices in support of this bill go silent it is obvious that the order came from the governor's office. He could bring this bill to pass with a simple nod and a wink to Vos and Fitzgerald but he's refusing to stand up for the people not just cancer victims but the people of this state. For this he must pay!!!!!!!

    1. Outstanding analysis! It will be incumbent upon ALL of us who stand for what is right and just to NEVER let the people of this state forget that it is Fitzgerald and WALKER who torpedoed this bill.

      Scott Walker is an EVIL MAN who surrounds himself with evil, corrupt people. Does Wisconsin want to re-elect a Governor who is OK with denying oral chemotherapy drugs to cancer patients?

      It really is THAT simple.

  8. Had a relative, staunch republican to the core who always loathed people for unhealthy habits. He worked out, took care of his body, ate all the healthy foods. He also preached against health care reform.Then one day he had a heart attack. A few years latter he was diagnosed with cancer.

    No matter what you do in life you can't beat your genetic makeup. What goes around does eventually come around. It will be very interesting if one of these Fitzgeralds comes down with cancer some day and ends ups up being on the short side of their own policies. The movie "Bucket List" comes to mind when Jack Nicholson's character had to share a room.......... with a black man.

    The average republican never wants to pay for anything when they don't see an immediate need or gratification. If it was up to them only the roads to just their houses would get paved.

  9. And yet another "issue ad" writes itself. To what depths of depravity is WISGOP prepared to go during the next 8 months? They just get uglier and more evil. This sh#@ is real now.

  10. Rotten scoundrels who line their pockets while the good people of Wisconsin suffer.

  11. Another thought- Walker could drag this out, then flip it right before the election. He's an expert at stagecraft and playing out an issue. Either the insurance lobby gets their way or Walker becomes a "hero" like he did with the Sportsman scandal. Mary Burke needs to tread very carefully on this and she knows it.

    1. Except Walker said yesterday that the cancer bill wasn't important enough for him to talk about - which would make Mr. "Unintimidated" quite the flip-flipper if he was to do what you said

      Now it looks like some GOP Senators may join with Dems to pull the bill to the floor today. Let's see who votes to go this....and who doesnt

    2. Explain to me 1. how walker looked like a hero with United Sportsmen? He only escaped public humiliation because the dems let him. Let's not forget he gave suder a promotion.

      2. Why would Burke need to tread lightly? The only way i can see that being realistic if you are looking at this issue from Keith gilkes point of view.

    3. @ Jeff- Because MJS and other newspapers around the state sold it as "Walker saves federal funding". We all know it was b.s., but there's a whole lot of people drinking the kool aid. Walker has given all kinds of his criminal and unqualified friends promotions, even switching them out when embarrassing information becomes available about them, and yet nothing sticks. It drives me nuts.

      @Jake- Walker will say anything, do anything, yes, even lie if it gives him political advantage. (you knew that). So for him to say (paraphrasing) that he's not "well informed on the language of the bill" gives him tons of wiggle room if the tide turns. He crafts his statements very carefully. This guy is the slipperiest f*ck on the planet.

      Also note- on the Republican side- who's "for", who's "against" and who "has not taken a position" on the red team. Vukimir, Vos and Fitzgerald are keeping them in check even while allowing them to "be for" the bill. Election cycles are coming up and there's a few folks who don't want this on their voting record. Call me skeptical, but I don't trust any of these slick b@astards.

      Let's hope there's enough votes to pull this to the floor.

    4. Anyway- You guys are more informed. I just read what's "out there" in the media/blogs and offer my two cents. Maybe I'm all wet on this one. But I do appreciate the discussion and feedback. :)

  12. Well said CJ. Walker is the consummate politician. Look back from where he comes and you see the stinking pile he leaves behind. He is a demagogue and chameleon dressed as a the innocent boy scout and son of a preacher man. His lies and hubris will be his downfall.