Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for chemo

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ilikebeans
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Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for chemo

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:37 pm

Sen. Fitzgerald intentionally blocks vote on bill that benefits cancer patients

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.

Detritus
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby Detritus » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:57 pm

Oh, he's pulling the majority-of-the-majority ploy. Interesting that he would do that when his party controls both houses. Does that mean the state Republicans are starting to crack?

david cohen
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby david cohen » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:39 pm

I'm not sure if this is ironic or not, given the Walker administration's mockery of Lt. Gov. Kleefish in the John Doe emails, but I'd bet she is still on an oral chemo regimen from her colon cancer 3 yrs ago. Seems to be standard oncological practice these days.

Steve Vokers
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby Steve Vokers » Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:46 am

Fitzgerald's brother is one of the lobbyists for the insurance companies.

As Fitzgerald tries to block or rewrite the proposal, his brother, Jeff Fitzgerald, a lobbyist and former legislative leader himself, is working for the insurance companies that oppose the bill.


david cohen
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby david cohen » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:31 am

Well that says all we need to know, Steve. When you see a Fitz in a crosswalk, punch it!

gargantua
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby gargantua » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:08 am

Wow. A person complaining about an undemocratic process in a different thread ought to come over to this one. Nothing like using a parliamentary maneuver to prevent a vote on something that may help save the lives of cancer patients. What an amoral piece of human garbage.

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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby wack wack » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:40 am

gargantua wrote:What an amoral piece of human garbage.


Human? Really?

minicat
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby minicat » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:57 am

wack wack wrote:
gargantua wrote:What an amoral piece of human garbage.


Human? Really?


Yeah, I'd like to see some evidence of that as well. The garbage part is pretty clear by his actions.

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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby david cohen » Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:58 am

Let's not forget that the Fitzgerald brothers march to Walker's orders. Walker doesn't want this bill on his desk in an election year. He wants the Senate to take the rap and keep things under wraps, lest he be accused of running his own GOP Death Panel.

ilikebeans
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby ilikebeans » Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:53 am

More details today from the WSJ:

Fitzgerald said the bill has a majority of support in the 33-member Senate where Republicans hold an 18-15 advantage. But because a majority of the 18 Republican senators don’t back it, he said he wasn’t ready for it to be voted on.

“We just don’t have consensus,” he said.
...
“A lot of people are kind of dug in on it,” he said.
...
Fitzgerald commented when asked about an unusual procedural move that prevented any senator, Republican or Democrat, from attempting to force a vote on the measure.

“We just don’t want that to happen with an issue we take very seriously,” Fitzgerald said.

All of this for a bill that was introduced by Republican Pat Strachota and sponsored by Alberta Darling.

ilikebeans
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby ilikebeans » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:08 pm

Strangely enough, Fitzgerald actually allowed the bill to come to a vote today, and it passed the Senate, 30-2.

But hey, guess what-- it's the Assembly's turn, and now Robin Vos is playing the same games.

Like Fitzgerald in the Senate, Vos is using procedural tactics to prevent the bill from getting a floor vote in which it would clearly pass. On Friday, Vos transferred the bill from the Health Committee to the Insurance Committee — a step taken solely to make it harder to get the bill to the floor.

Supporters would normally need a majority vote to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. But Vos' move means supporters would now need to marshal a two-thirds majority to force a vote on the measure. The higher threshold is needed for a bill that has been sitting in committee less than 21 days. By moving it to the Insurance Committee, Vos essentially re-set the clock.

It's unlikely backers of the bill could manage that, because lawmakers typically vote with their leaders on motions seeking to yank a bill out of committee for a floor vote. That means that many GOP lawmakers would feel pressure to side with Vos — even though they back the proposal — and oppose giving the proposal an up or down vote.

The moves to block the bill come as the Legislature wraps up its session for the year.

The Senate plans to be in session on Tuesday and on April 1, then quit for the year. The Assembly plans to meet just two more times — on Tuesday and Thursday. That means that the bill is essentially dead if it hasn't passed the Assembly by Friday morning.

And this huge cost increase the insurance companies are warning about?

Twenty-nine states — including neighboring Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota — have passed laws requiring insurance companies to treat oral chemotherapy drugs the same as they do other chemotherapy, with little or no effect on premium costs.

Supporters say requiring equal coverage for oral chemotherapy hasn't been shown to lead to big increases in health insurance premiums. A review done by the Washington Department of Insurance found an increase of 0.2% as a result of the state's oral chemotherapy law, according to the International Myeloma Foundation. In Indiana, the Department of Insurance found no increase in premiums after it passed similar legislation in 2010.

But naturally, money talks:

In just the first six months of 2013, HMOs gave $20,625 to the campaigns of GOP lawmakers, more than twice as much as they gave to Democrats, according to an analysis done for the Journal Sentinel by elections tracker Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The majority of that money went to the umbrella campaign committees for Senate and Assembly Republicans that are controlled by Vos and Fitzgerald, with the Senate leader also receiving $1,200 directly.

ilikebeans
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby ilikebeans » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:11 pm

Assembly Republicans duck questions on oral chemo

The Journal Sentinel sent emails and called all 99 members of the Assembly on Monday and Tuesday. All 39 Democrats said they supported it. Half the 60 Republicans have declined to say what they think of the bill or said they were undecided.

The JS then goes on to list a sample of the Republican non-responses they got. Here's my favorite:

Rep. Mary Williams (R-Medford): "Uh, I'm not going to talk to you."

snoqueen
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby snoqueen » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:16 pm

Anybody want to know what corruption American-style looks like? Here it is.

Mad Howler
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby Mad Howler » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:18 pm

Blissful ignorance of corruptive evil.
I am unsure how ignorant these 'players' are.
Some are more egregious with their endevours,
Some lurk.
On balance things never seem to budge the tally toward the populi.
Unless of course a popular address is required,
In this case popular support of the populi is demanded - without reward.
Evil cycle, no?

rabble
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Re: Scott Fitzgerald blocks vote on insurance coverage for c

Postby rabble » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:24 am

snoqueen wrote:Anybody want to know what corruption American-style looks like? Here it is.

I suggest that it's a whole new style.

In the past they tried to hide it. Now they're looking you right in the eye while they do it and the worst that happens is it makes some of them a little uncomfortable.


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