Governor Walker signs Cancer Treatment Fairness Act at Clinical Cancer Center

April 07, 2014 College News - On Thursday, April 4, with more than 300 patients, advocates, and members of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin communities in attendance at the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center, Governor Scott Walker signed the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act, Senate Bill 300, into law. 

The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act updates Wisconsin insurance coverage to require health plans to provide the same coverage for chemotherapy treatments, regardless of whether these treatments are administered intravenously or orally via a pill form.  The new law will also allow health plans to comply with the law by capping the copayment amount for oral chemotherapy at $100 for a 30-day supply of medicine.

New oral therapies have revolutionized cancer treatment and outcomes over the last decade.  These new treatments have not only vastly reduced the high mortality rates of cancers that were once considered untreatable, but are also designed to target the disease, while allowing patients to lead relatively normal lives and without suffering many of the side effects of traditional chemotherapy treatments.

James Thomas, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Associate Director of Translational Research, Medical Director of the Clinical Trials Office, and Section Head of Solid Tumor Oncology, presented the opening remarks to the event and introduced Governor Scott Walker. 

In his remarks, Dr. Thomas highlighted the difficult, gut-wrenching process patients experience when receiving a cancer diagnosis. From the physician perspective, Dr. Thomas also shared how delivering this news to a patient is made even more difficult in situations where effective treatments may be financially out of the patient’s reach simply because those treatments come in a pill form.

MCW’s Office of Government and Community Relations has advocated strongly for the passage of this legislation since 2009, and would like to sincerely thank the faculty who played such a key role in helping to move this legislation forward.  Many of MCW’s faculty contacted key legislators, testified at committee hearings at the State Capitol in Madison, participated in numerous media interviews, and wrote letters to the editor on behalf of advancing this issue for Wisconsin’s cancer patients.  Particular thanks to the significant efforts of  Parameswaran Hari, MD, MRCP, MS; James Thomas, MD, PhD; J. Douglas Rizzo, MD; and Mary M. Horowitz, MD, MS

Throughout the last five years, MCW has been a lead partner within a broader coalition of advocacy groups to support the passage of this landmark legislation. The new law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Thomas discusses the importance of the bill and introduces Governor Scott Walker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prior to signing the bill into law, Governor Scott Walker discusses the history and importance of the legislation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From left to right: Joseph E. Kerschner, MD, Dean of the Medical School and Executive Vice President; State Representative Pat Strachota; James Thomas, MD, PhD; Governor Scott Walker; Parameswaran Hari, MD, MRCP, MS; State Senator Alberta Darling; and Mary M. Horowitz, MD, MS

 

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