What would happen if a state covered the entire treatment cost of hepatits C for everyone in Medicaid?
A new study that projects what could happen if Pennsylvania covered the costly treatment of hepatits C for everyone in Medicaid yields some surprises for policymakers nationwide: Few lives would be saved. Some patients might actually fare worse. The federal government would likely reap savings, at the expense of the states.
The counter-intuitive findings from the University of Pittsburgh may become part of pitched debates in state capitols and the incoming administration in Washington over health-care costs.
Hepatitis C is an especially difficult issue. An estimated 3 million Americans are infected with the blood-borne virus but most have no idea until liver problems develop after decades. Highly effective treatments have come on the market only within the last few years and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Medical guidelines issued last year say that anyone who is sick should be treated. But state treasuries can’t afford it, and patients report being told that they’re “not sick enough” for the medication. A state advisory panel recommended in May that Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program, which has fewer restrictions than most states, cover treatment for anyone who is infected. No decision has been announced.
|Read Full Article: Broader access to costly Hep C drugs may yield few benefits for Pa. Medicaid, study finds|