Check out the linked WashPo article “The Wonder Drug That Could Cure Millions.”
With a title like that you would be forgiven for thinking something amazing would be happening to millions of folks struggling with one illness or another. I forgive you. Instead, millions of people are likely to be denied a cure in favor of long-term (read: lifetime) treatment. Though this treatment does keep folks alive, it has high costs to the body and to the wallet book–mostly because folks suffering the Hep C suffer daunting medicine related side-effects that often debilitating. However, without treatment, folks risks liver failure and kidney disease. Not exactly a ticket to the good life. While the life-time treatment can cure some folks–less than 50% are rid of Hep C after the grueling regimen.
In comes the cure! *cue trumpets*…or not. The cure is expected to costs nearly $86,000 and state-based insurers are looking for ways to limit access to the program. Generally, a state cutting costs isn’t a bad thing: less taxes, more money in your pocket, more efficiency ect. However, consider who is accessing state-based coverage and also consider those who are most likely to have Hep C (hint: neither are folks making much–if anything–above the poverty line). So in their quest to balance the budget, states are literally busting the immune systems of their most vulnerable folks and the backbones of our economy-folks that will/do work 10-16 days at multiple sites with no/little benefits. These are folks who are making minimum and are possibly not working at all due to side effects of Hep C or the fairweather “cure” (the long term meds) they’ve been taking.
Health care reform is here…but this isn’t what anyone banked on. The article puts it this way: folks are being denied a cure to the illness that had denied them insurance previous to Obamacare. Ain’t that some shit? We have to consider how much a human life is worth, especially someone who is simply looking for a hand-up to hold up our economy. This also raises questions about future cures for chronic illnesses like HIV & Cancer. Who will have access? Let’s hope that low income folks and minorities aren’t left on the chopping block or locked in the infirmary due to know fault of their own–besides survival.