IOWA CITY — More Hepatitis-C patients can qualify for care under Iowa Medicaid as of this month, but some doctors and advocates argue the remaining restrictions are immoral. State officials are expanding care to some patients with less severe stages of liver disease, but others have to wait, and all patients have to be sober.
That’s not right, according to Michael Voigt, a liver transplant specialist at the University of Iowa. “It’s completely, ethically indefensible in my opinion that we are not treating everybody,” Voigt says.
Iowa is considered one of the most restrictive states, he says, when it comes to Hepatitis-C treatment under Medicaid. “There’s public health as well as mental health as well as physical health issues that are associated with having Hep C and not treating it,” Voigt says.
With new drugs, the potentially-deadly disease is largely curable, but some doctors argue insurers enforce restrictions because of the high cost of treatment.