Wisconsin Legislative Session Ends with Mixed Record on Cancer Policy

Action Needed to Reduce the Burden of Cancer on Wisconsinites 

March 13, 2024

Statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Wisconsin Government Relations Director Sara Sahli

MADISON, Wis.  – “As lawmakers close the 2023/2024 legislative session, their policies on easing the burden of cancer are decidedly mixed for the nearly 40,000 Wisconsinites who will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

“After years of advocacy from volunteers, caregivers and medical professionals, we were thrilled to see the Assembly vote to create a palliative care advisory council. Palliative care supports patients from the point of diagnosis, throughout treatment and beyond. We stand ready to bring this bill back next session and get it through both chambers.

“This session we, at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, our board and our volunteer advocates were supportive of the legislature’s successful efforts to create a statewide program on healthy food incentives. Having consistent access to affordable, nutritious food has a direct impact on a person’s health and can help prevent, manage, and treat chronic diseases like cancer.

“This year, however, legislators missed several opportunities to improve access to affordable, quality health care for Wisconsinites.

“The reality is, having health insurance is a key factor in whether someone survives cancer. The legislature did not listen to cancer survivors, who have called on them to support policies to expand access and affordability of BadgerCare for limited-income individuals and families. We want to thank members of the Senate for passing a bill to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage, but this fell short in the Assembly. Lawmakers there adjourned without taking a vote to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months, a policy that supports new moms and has overwhelming support in Wisconsin.  

“Furthermore, the legislature missed an opportunity to advance insurance benefit reform legislation that would remove barriers to prescription drug access. The All Copays Count legislation would have required all payments made by patients - directly or on their behalf - to be counted toward their overall out-of-pocket maximum payment or deductible. Many Wisconsinites face high out-of-pocket costs for their prescription drugs, and copay assistance programs are critical to helping patients access needed therapies. Passing this legislation would have ensured Wisconsinites receive the total value of prescription drug assistance to afford their treatments.

“Legislators play a key role in reducing the cancer burden for people in their districts through budget and policy decisions. ACS CAN, our volunteers and our board members will continue to share our stories, engage in conversations and educate lawmakers on the burden of cancer in Wisconsin.”


About ACS CAN 
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit

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