MADISON — The day before the second debate, just hours after reports of Vukmir committing pay-to-play politics and following two polls this week showing Leah Vukmir down double digits — Leah Vukmir’s campaign is responding by again doubling down on killing a bill that requires insurance companies cover oral chemotherapy.
“Leah Vukmir should read the reports she is desperately pushing, they not only support oral chemo parity legislation, they show just how depraved it is to block and kill legislation to require insurance companies cover one of the only ways to treat many forms of deadly cancers,” said campaign spokesman Bill Neidhardt. “Scott Walker supports this bill, but Leah Vukmir said she opposed it because she is against insurance mandates of any kind.”
“Nice try, Leah Vukmir. I took oral chemo to treat my brain cancer and I couldn’t imagine not having insurance coverage for that,” said Kirsten Jome-Robley of Manitowoc. “What Leah Vukmir is pushing today can’t hide the fact that she looks out for insurance companies more than cancer patients like me.”
Here is what you need to know about Leah Vukmir’s latest desperate distraction:
1) Scott Walker and other prominent Wisconsin Republicans supported Oral Chemotherapy Parity Legislation
Leah Vukmir is attacking a bill signed into law by Governor Scott Walker. In fact, Walker repeatedly praised the bill, even calling it “potentially life-saving.”
“This is what you ask for when you elect people, to set aside partisan differences and ultimately do, in the end, what’s just right.” – Scott Walker
Other Republicans also praised the bill as Leah Vukmir tried to kill it:
“I am proud that we found a way to make life-saving medications more affordable and accessible. We are giving patients and their doctors the freedom to choose the best cancer treatment without the burden of an overwhelming price tag.” – Speaker Robin Vos
“Treatment should be based on the disease and not your wallet. The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act makes sure life-saving decisions are between patients and their doctor.” – Senator Alberta Darling
Not only that, even Wisconsin House Republicans Jim Sensenbrenner, Sean Duffy, Glenn Grothman, and Mike Gallagher all support similar oral chemo parity legislation – that Leah Vukmir tried to kill – at the federal level.
2) The Report Shows the Opposite of What Vukmir Claims
According to the UNC/Harvard study that Leah Vukmir cites, oral chemotherapy parity laws that Vukmir opposed resulted in “modest improvements in costs for many patients.”
The study also found that average six-month health care costs did not increase as a result of parity laws.
What the sturdy doesn’t show is that the parity laws should have never been passed in the first place.
3) The American Cancer Society Helped Fund the Report Pushed by Vukmir Today and Supported the Bill Killed by Vukmir
Leah Vukmir is citing a study supported by a grant from the American Cancer Society, which supported both the 2011 and 2014 oral chemo parity bills that Vukmir opposed.
In addition, a dozen organizations, including the Wisconsin Coalition for Cancer Treatment Access, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the Marshfield Clinic also supported the bill.
Leah Vukmir not only voted against the bill twice, she killed it in committee in 2011.
4) Leah Vukmir Opposed The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act Not Because of Patient Costs — Because of “Insurance Mandates”
According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report from back when the bill was being debated, “Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) voted no because of her opposition to putting mandates on insurers.”
Leah Vukmir is now claiming she opposed it for completely different reasons.
A Summary of Leah Vukmir’s Attempts to Stop Oral Chemo Coverage:
In 2014, Leah Vukmir was one of the only State Senators to vote against the bipartisan Cancer Treatment Fairness Act, also putting her at odds with Governor Scott Walker, who eventually signed the legislation into law.
The legislation requires state-regulated health insurance companies to also cover oral chemotherapy drugs, some of which are the only form of treatment available for brain tumors.
Similar laws were already in place in a majority of other states, but Leah Vukmir not only voted against the bill twice in 2014, she blocked a nearly identical bipartisan bill in 2011 from moving forward.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Leah Vukmir ignored the calls from cancer advocates, including American Cancer Society, Wisconsin Coalition For Cancer Treatment Access, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, to hold a hearing on the legislation.
Her obstruction successfully killed the bill and drew criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.