New program could wipe out Hepatitis C

The American Press

<p class="p1">The Louisiana Department of Health is convinced a new program it is considering that is known as a “subscription-based” model could be the beginning of the end of Hepatitis C in the state. The goal is to find a drug maker that will agree to be paid what the state currently spends to treat Hep C in exchange for patients’ unlimited access to the medication.</p><p class="p3">Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of LDH, told The Advocate some of the nation’s  biggest drug makers have already expressed an interest in the idea. The bipartisan National Governors Association has identified the subscription model are one of its recommendations for states to consider.</p><p class="p3">The newspaper said Hepatitis C is virtually curable, but the high cost of medication has made it unaffordable for thousands of Louisiana residents. Nearly 35,000 people on the state’s Medicaid program have the Hep C virus, which is spread through blood contamination and can lead to liver disease and cirrhosis.</p><p class="p3">Medicaid is the federal-state health care program for poor and low-income Americans. Nearly half of Louisiana’s $29 billion state budget goes to health care. One out of every five residents, including children, the elderly and disabled, is on Medicaid.</p><p class="p3">“We’re really optimistic that we may be the first state in the nation to get close to curing Hep C,” Gee told The Advocate. “We ought to be in a situation where we are spending enough money we can solve whatever health challenge is in front of us,” she said.</p><p class="p3">“I will probably never know what got this whole issue unstuck,” Gee said. “I feel very hopeful because I have (federal health officials) and the (pharmaceutical) industry, at this point, saying, ‘Let’ go ahead.’”</p><p class="p3">U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., specialized in hematology as a doctor and said he supports this latest proposal. Successful treatments will save the state money down the road, he said.</p><p class="p3">The U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services will have to approve the new program, but the Trump administration is encouraging states to be more innovative with their health care delivery systems.</p><p class="p3">Gee said if this program is successful it could become a model for other costly treatments. Having Louisiana in the forefront of this effort helps the state’s image and gives more citizens a health benefit they couldn’t otherwise afford.</p>””Hepatitis C graphic

SportsPlus

Crime

UPDATE: Victim identified in Sulphur officer-involved shooting

Local News

Area medical facilities have treated dozens for heat-related illnesses

McNeese Sports

SLC releases basketball schedules

life

SW La. nightlife calendar: There’s always something to do

life

Calcasieu SerialFest flying high with tribute to superheroes

Crime

7/12: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Business

Jennings considers requiring commercial parking lots to have concrete, asphalt or approved decorative paving

Business

Industrial tax exemption supported for solar energy farm

Crime

Grandmother of 4-year-old found dead: ‘I knew he was in danger’

Local News

Neighbors unite to fight construction of townhome development at corner of Ernest and W. Claude streets

life

Lindsay Gaar represents city at Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C.

Crime

Officer-involved shooting in Sulphur leaves one dead

Local News

Sowela photography students open exhibit at LC City Hall

Crime

7/11: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Crime

BREAKING: Charges upgraded against mother of dead boy, recovered toddler

Crime

Truck driver who found missing 1-year-old: ‘I told him, “It’s gonna be all right, little man,” ‘

McNeese Sports

McNeese signs $2.5M deal with Memorial Health

Business

BUSINESS UPDATE: Albertsons on Country Club in danger of closing

Local News

Houston utility says 500K customers still won’t have electricity next week as Beryl outages persist

Local News

Iowa mayor makes motion to adjourn in middle of council meeting

Local News

GOP moves to alter abortion position: At Trump’s behest, RNC votes to no longer call for national ban

life

Nonprofit converts empty, historic north LC house for new homeownership

Local News

Newly named Superintendent VanMetre: ‘It’s all about people, all the time’

Business

PHOTO GALLERY: Capital One Tower skybridge now a pile of rubble