Medicaid patients in Washington state (a similar suit is underway in Indiana) have sued the state’s Medicaid agency claiming they were denied treatment for hepatitis C because of the high cost of the drugs. Litigation director Kevin Costello with the Harvard Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation says his organization has joined the lawsuit.
“We really view Washington as a first step in solving a problem in a much broader context,” says Costello. “So it’s one small piece of a broader puzzle.”
The broader puzzle is a patchwork of state Medicaid policies about how sick patients must be before their treatment will be covered. Rhode Island’s Medicaid policy also requires patients with hepatitis C have a certain level of liver damage before they qualify for treatment.