Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says he used a procedural move to purposely block a vote on a bill that would require insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients, because he believed it would pass without the full support of his GOP caucus.
"If it did get to the floor for a vote it would pass overwhelmingly with a lot of Democrats and a lot of Republicans," said Sen. Erpenbach.
Sen. Fitzgerald agrees.
"I think it would. Yeah, I think it would pass in the Senate," said Sen. Fitzgerald.
So why did he stop it?
"Its a majority of the body, but its not a majority of the people that make up the Republican caucus," said Sen. Fitzgerald.
In other words, even though the bill has six Senate Republican co-sponsors, that isn't enough for Fitzgerald.
"You know that's certainly a consideration and anytime you make a decision on whether or not you're going to move a piece of legislation is, how do the members of your own caucus feel about it?," said Sen. Fitzgerald.
But really, let's get to the heart of the matter:
The oral chemotherapy bill has strong support from cancer patients and the medical community, but strong opposition from the health insurance industry. Lobbyists for the industry have testified that the price of oral chemotherapy is so much higher than intravenous chemotherapy that it is cost prohibitive.
Sen. Fitzgerald says lobbyists played no role in his decision to block the measure from coming to the floor Wednesday.
Yeah, that last sentence? That's what's known as a bald-faced lie.