As the Affordable Care Act kicks in, some areas of the country are going to have VERY long waiting lists for Hep C treatment (many already have waiting lists, especially among providers who accept government healthcare plans).
This discourages many from getting tested: “It doesn’t make sense to test people and put them through that mental trauma if we don’t have treatment for them,” according to Dr. John Scott.
Except that Hep C is very contagious, and it’s critical to identify those who are infected to help stop the spread of disease. And if it were you, wouldn’t you want your shot on a waiting list for treatment? Although it’s always better to get treatment earlier than later, it’s also never too late. If you don’t get tested, you won’t know you have Hep C until symptoms manifest (i.e., you experience liver failure).
There are waiting lists for both the traditional Hep C treatment, Interferon, as well as people on waiting lists for new, less toxic treatments. The promise of new treatments has a lot of people delaying treatment, hoping for better options—but you can only make that choice, and get on that list, if you get tested.
Baby boomers are expected to be disproportionately affected. For about a year now, it’s been recommended that people born between 1945-1961 (ish) get tested for Hep C. Poor needle practices in a world before HIV may have infected a whole generation, and the virus may have silently been destroying livers for decades now.
Better to get on a list for treatment now than a list for a new liver later.
It’s been suggested that baby boomers will have a spike in Hep C related deaths due to shortages of treatment as well as doctors offering Hep C treatment.
What do you think of the Affordable Care Act?