With Falling Drug Prices, Hepatitis C Could Be Eliminated if Plans Play Ball

The U.S. health care system could save billions if it increases access to treatment for hepatitis C, now that a series of curative therapies approved in the 2010s have decreased in price, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). However, one expert says that federal and state governments will have to force health plans — particularly Medicaid managed care organizations — to increase access to those therapies.

Doubling hepatitis C treatment access in Medicaid could save the federal government $7 billion over 10 years, the CBO found in a report published June 14. In addition, a 2023 white paper from researchers affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research found that a Biden administration budget request for a federal program to eliminate hepatitis C would diagnose and cure about 90% of all U.S. hepatitis C patients, saving the health care system $18.1 billion, of which $13.3 billion would accrue to the federal government.

© 2024 MMIT
Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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