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Contents

  • Step Therapy Public Hearing
  • Hospital Legislative Panel
  • UW-GB Students Visit Capitol
  • Drug Court Graduates
  • Local Easter Events

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Legislative Website

Learn more about what I am working on here in Madison to improve the lives of my constituents!

HOPE Agenda

Stay up-to-date and informed on our progress to combat the opioid epidemic in our state.

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Step Therapy Public Hearing

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to testify before both the Assembly Committee on Health and Senate Committee on Health and Human Services regarding my bill aimed at reforming our state’s step therapy protocols.

You may remember this bill, which is my first bill of 2019, which helps put patients and their physician in charge of their healthcare decisions.  Step therapy is a common practice used by insurance companies. In essence, when a physician prescribes a particular drug treatment for a patient, the patient’s insurance company may require them to try a less expensive treatment, or series of treatments, before they can have access to the drug originally prescribed by their physician. The patient is not able to try the second treatment until the first one is proven to “fail.” This protocol is known as “step therapy” and is deployed by insurance companies as they strive to control costs while maintaining high-quality care.

Unfortunately, step therapy protocols often ignore a patient’s medical history, such as whether they have already tried certain drugs under a different health insurance plan, or if they have other medical conditions that might interfere with the drug’s effect. It may also not take into account whether a certain drug’s side effects will affect the patient’s ability to perform their job, or if the patient would benefit from a drug that has a different ingestion method or dosage form. Each of these aspects can have a profound influence on a patient’s compliance and responsiveness to treatment.

I am proud to report that this bill has received broad bipartisan support and was well received during the public hearing. Thank you to all of the advocates that traveled from far and wide across Wisconsin to come to tell us their stories.

Next, the bills will be voted on in each committee and, if they pass, they will head to the floor of the Assembly and Senate. I will keep you updated on the legislative process!

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Wisconsin Hospital Association Legislative Panel

Also on Wednesday, I was invited to participate in a legislative panel during the Wisconsin Hospital Association advocacy day. Over 1,000 advocates from across Wisconsin came to Madison for their annual advocacy day.

Over the last few months, rhetoric has intensified over our state’s debate on Medicaid expansion. Since day one, I have been opposed to expanding Medicaid and welfare programs and with a strong economy and record low unemployment, I remain opposed to expanding welfare.

Most troubling is Governor Evers’ desire to kick 40,000 people off their current healthcare coverage and move them into Medicaid. These are people who have chosen their own doctors and have health care coverage. Currently, the federal government provides subsidies to help with the purchase of health insurance for these individuals. Because Governor Evers wants to expand welfare programs, he is willing to kick these individuals off their private healthcare coverage and place them on government-run healthcare. I cannot stress this point enough: Governor Evers wants to kick 40,000 people off their current coverage to place them into Medicaid. This is unacceptable.

Governor Evers has made this his top priority in his budget. By doing so, he is placing his faith in the federal government to continue to provide states with enhanced federal matching dollars. With the legal trouble Obamacare is facing, and President Trump’s renewed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, there could not be a worse time to expand Medicaid.

Instead of expanding government welfare programs, we should make investments in expanding access to dental care in underserved areas, helping support our states personal care workers and nursing homes, and increasing reimbursement rates to make healthcare more affordable. I believe we can do this without expanding welfare.

In fact, Republicans have made investments in these programs over the last eight years without relying on the federal government or expanding welfare. When compared to states that have expanded Medicaid, Wisconsin still ranks as one of the best for access and quality.

I believe that as the budget process continues, we will be able to address all of these issues without expanding welfare.

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UW-GB Students Visit Capitol

On Wednesday I met with UW-Green Bay students Becky Berry and Katlyn Tappy who were at the Capitol presenting on research they had done in their fields of study. They were part of the UW-System’s annual Posters in the Rotunda, where students from campuses across the system showcase research projects on a wide variety of topics. Katlyn’s research was on the discovery of antibiotic-producing soil bacteria, and Becky’s was on the absorptive capacity of cyanobacteria. Thanks for meeting with me and keep up the great work!

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Drug Court Graduates

On Monday, April 1st, Cassie Alloy and Taylor Pier graduated from Marinette County Treatment Drug Court, becoming the 18th and 19th drug court alumni members.

Cassie was accepted into the program on August 9, 2017 and completed the program on November 19, 2018. During her time in the program, she had 29 drug court sessions, 50 supervision sessions, and 189 drug tests. Throughout the past year and a half, she has received support from her community, improved relationships with those close to her, found and maintained full-time employment, and gained stable housing.

Taylor was accepted into the program on December 5, 2017 and finished the program almost two months ago on February 25, 2019. In the course of the program, Pier had 30 drug court sessions, 64 supervision sessions, and had 175 drug tests. Similarly to Cassie, she also gained and maintained her community’s support, improved relationships within her family, secured stable housing, and attained a valid driver’s license.

Treatment Drug Court is an intensive and judicially monitored treatment program with recurrent compliance testing and is tailored to the individual, so they will continue to cooperate. There is very tight community supervision with frequent home and office visits, drug court hearings, incentivized rewards and sanctions for rule violations, and electronic monitoring when necessary.

The drug court’s goals are to enhance public safety, hold offenders accountable, reduce expenses for the community, and ultimately help offenders improve their lives and become contributing members of their community.

Both Cassie Alloy and Taylor Pier have achieved an amazing accomplishment! We wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors!

Local Easter Events

The Easter Bunny is going to be hopping into our homes very soon, which means that Easter Egg Hunting season is coming to a close. However, if you have not been able to go searching for eggs stuffed with chocolate and trinkets, there are still more opportunities this weekend to help get you and your family in the Easter spirit.

For a list of local northeastern Wisconsin Easter events, please click here.

Good luck to all attending an Easter Egg Hunt! Have an EGGcellent Easter weekend!

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 |State Capitol | Post Office Box 8953 | Madison, Wisconsin 53708 (608) 266-2344 | Toll Free: (888) 534-0089 | Fax: (608) 282-3689 |Rep.Nygren@legis.wi.gov |