The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI) share a commitment to ensuring that all individuals living with hepatitis C (HCV) are able to access treatment. HCV is the deadliest infectious disease in the United States, and it’s critical to ensure that public and private payers end all restrictions to treatment access.
On October 23, 2017, NVHR and CHLPI released Hepatitis C: The State of Medicaid Access. This report details hepatitis C treatment restrictions in all state Medicaid programs, including traditional fee-for-service as well as managed care. The report focuses on three of the most significant restrictions to treatment: liver damage, sobriety, and prescriber limitations. It is the most comprehensive public listing of these restrictions to date.
Just over one year later, NVHR and CHLPI have released the updated Hepatitis C: The State of Medicaid Access report to share the successes achieved in the past year:
- 20 states have eliminated their fibrosis restrictions – 37 states total now have no fibrosis restrictions
- 9 states have loosened their sobriety restrictions
- 6 states have scaled back their prescriber restrictions.
However, there is still more work to be done as there are far too many unnecessary restrictions in place in Medicaid programs. Fourteen states still have F2 or greater fibrosis restrictions and 12 states still require six months of sobriety. In addition, 33 states still have prescriber restrictions in place, which makes access to care and treatment, particularly in rural areas, difficult. This of course doesn’t include the access restrictions in private insurance and correctional settings.
We have tools to eliminate HCV but, to do so, the discriminatory treatment access restrictions must be removed. We can eliminate hepatitis C in our lifetime, averting thousands of preventable deaths in the United States. The Hepatitis C: The State of Medicaid Access report has proven to be a powerful tool in our armory to improve transparency and accountability for why so many people aren’t able to get the HCV treatment they deserve.