Burke urges chemo bill passage, restoring pardon advisory board - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Burke urges chemo bill passage, restoring pardon advisory board

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke urged legislative passage of a bill to require health plans to treat the amount patients pay for oral chemotherapy treatment the same as intravenous chemotherapy treatment.

During a Madison appearance, Burke also called for the restoration of the state's pardon advisory board, and renewed consideration of pardon requests.

The state senate Tuesday passed the oral chemotherapy parity legislation. The state assembly may now consider the measure.

Proponents have said patients on certain health plans have paid thousands if dollars in out-of-pocket costs because the oral therapy is in pill form and covered as a prescription, while intravenous chemotherapy treatment is covered as a medical benefit.

Burke says people purchase health insurance to prepare for events such as a cancer diagnosis, and plans should cover the oral version of the treatment.

Opponents say the Affordable Care Act's yearly cap on patient out-of-pockets payments of just over $6,000 does away with the need for the parity legislation.

On gubernatorial pardons, Burke says the state pardon advisory board should again function and vet requests for pardons. Governor Walker has maintained the board, but has not staffed it, nor called it into action. Walker has said pardons undermine the criminal justice system, and has rebuffed requests for pardons, including a decorated  Marine Corps veteran from Madison's bid to have a ten-year old felony battery pardoned, to allow him to pursue a law enforcement career.

Burke says pardon requests should be considered after careful review, and applications with merit approved.

Burke also says elements of Walker's controversial Act 10 and its near-elimination of public employee union bargaining had some merit, with increased contributions for public employees for health insurance. But Burke says if elected governor, she would work to restore collective bargaining rights, automatic withdrawal of union dues from employee paychecks, and less stringent union certification rules.

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