Only the sickest Coloradans on Medicaid get breakthrough treatment for hepatitis C

PUBLISHED: July 29, 2016 at 12:01 am | UPDATED: July 31, 2016 at 12:58 pm
 It’s not until the final two stages of liver damage that needy Coloradans with the blood-borne hepatitis C virus get access to a life-saving drug with a 90-percent cure rate and an exorbitant price tag.

“You’ve got to be on death’s door before they will treat you,” said David Higginbotham, a Colorado Medicaid beneficiary who contracted the virus 35 years ago while working as a hospital surgical tech. He would take the 12-week medication “in a heartbeat” if the Colorado Medicaid department would cover it, but Higginbotham’s liver “score” is 1 out of 4, and the government insurance plan won’t pay for the medicine until liver scarring has progressed to a score of at least 3.

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