In the United States, approximately 2.4 million people live with Hepatitis C, a blood-borne virus that causes liver inflammation which can significantly impair liver functioning and lead to severe health complications, including liver damage, liver cancer and even death. Hepatitis C has had a disproportionate impact on African Americans and Medicaid beneficiaries. Though this disease is curable due to significant advances in medicine, many states have placed restrictions on eligibility for treatment for Medicaid beneficiaries, including Maryland, due to the high cost of the medication. These restrictions have resulted in many beneficiaries with Hepatitis C not being able to access the cure. However, legal and policy advocates, clinicians and researchers have worked tirelessly over the last few years to eliminate systemic barriers to accessing Hepatitis C treatment for Maryland Medicaid beneficiaries.
Listen in to learn about Hepatitis C in Maryland, our advocacy in coalition with other advocates to expand access to Hepatitis C treatment in Medicaid, and the work that remains to be done to ensure that ALL Medicaid beneficiaries suffering with this devastating disease are given equal access to treatment.
Ashley Black, Esq., Staff Attorney, Public Justice Center
Chara Bauer, Steering Committee Member, Maryland Hepatitis Coalition
Catherine Fowler, Co-Chair, Maryland Hepatitis Coalition
Joanna Diamond, Director of Public Policy, Health Care for the Homeless
Dr. Amanda Rosecrans, Clinical Chief, Baltimore City Health Department