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Vukmir’s “no-vote” on Cancer Treatment Fairness bill doesn’t reflect Gov. Walker and GOP colleagues

MADISON (WKOW) — In a new ad from Tammy Baldwin, a cancer survivor from Wisconsin calls out Leah Vukmir for standing with insurance companies to vote against a bill that would require coverage for oral chemotherapy. A measure Vukmir’s Republican colleagues including Governor Walker praised.

Incumbent Tammy Baldwin is in a heated race with opponent Republican Leah Vukmir who is currently a Wisconsin State Senator. Baldwin’s ad calls out Vukmir for her vote back in 2014 as she was one of the only senators to vote against the bipartisan Cancer Treatment Fairness Act. The legislation requires state-regulated health insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs, some of which are the only form of treatment available for brain tumors.

With her “no” vote, Vukmir did not share the same support as her Republican counterparts on the measure. In 2014, Governor Walker’s office sent out a statement praising the legislation to allow more patients the ability to have affordable options for treatment.

“Oral chemotherapy is a potentially life-saving option for some cancer patients. With all of the uncertainty in health care costs today, it just makes sense that we make sure this vitally important treatment is affordable for our citizens,” said Walker.

Vukmir on the campaign trail praises Governor Walker and her commitment to President Donald Trump. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senator Alberta Darling also we’re pleased to pass the legislation. Both made similar statements to Walker in 2014.

“I am proud that we found a way to make life-saving medications more affordable and accessible,” said Vos. “We are giving patients and their doctors the freedom to choose the best cancer treatment without the burden of an overwhelming price tag.”

“Treatment should be based on the disease and not your wallet,” said Sen. Darling. “The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act makes sure life-saving decisions are between patients and their doctor.”

Vukmir campaign who’s touted her record as a nurse responded stating her opponent Sen. Baldwin is letting patients down by taking away options.

“As a nurse, Leah wants to make sure her patients and everyone throughout Wisconsin have access to the best healthcare possible and the most aggressive methods to defeat cancer,” said campaign manager Jess Ward. “While Senator Baldwin let patients down by eliminating options for patients, Leah strongly supports making health care affordable for those with pre-existing conditions.”

Currently, 40 other state’s have a similar law, allowing insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs.

“While Leah Vukmir is doubling down on her indefensible votes against requiring insurance companies to cover oral chemo, Tammy Baldwin is standing up to those same powerful interests and leading the fight to make sure Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions like cancer are protected,” said Baldwin’s campaign spokesperson Bill Neidhardt.

Vukmir’s campaign did not clarify as to why she voted against the measure, the campaign did not immediately reply. This new attack comes after Vukmir visited met with Veterans in Fraklin Monday to hear their concerns over Baldwin not addressing the opioid scandal at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The center was in the spotlight years ago after a scandal involved over-prescribing opioids to veterans. Republican’s accuse Baldwin for not solving the problems back in 2015. Since then Baldwin passed legislation in honor of a deceased veteran that toughened prescription guidelines.

“Make no mistake about it: Tammy Baldwin let our veterans down at the Tomah VA,” said Vukmir. “To have sat on a report, to have been the only person in this congressional delegation to have known that a doctor was over-prescribing opioids, a veteran died and many others became addicted, to me, it’s unconscionable.”

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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