A judge has given preliminary approval to a deal that would expand access to hepatitis C treatments for Michigan residents on Medicaid.
FILE - In this July 30, 2015 file photo, a sign supporting Medicare is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington as registered nurses and other community leaders celebrate the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare spending on breakthrough medications for hepatitis C will nearly double this year, passing $9 billion, according to new government figures. Thatís raising insurance costs for all beneficiaries, whether or not they have the liver-wasting viral disease. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
DETROIT (AP) - A judge has given preliminary approval to a deal that would expand access to hepatitis C treatments for Michigan residents on Medicaid.
Gov. Rick Snyder's health department was accused of limiting new antiviral medicine only to the most serious cases. Hepatitis C can greatly damage the liver.
Under a lawsuit settlement, the state will increase access to people with certain hepatitis C conditions on Oct. 1. All hepatitis C patients on Medicaid will be eligible in fall 2019.
Federal Judge Denise Page Hood gave preliminary approval last week. She also set a fairness hearing for Aug. 8, a key step toward final approval.
Medicaid is a federal-state health program for people with low income. The state earlier had cited cost as a reason to limit the treatment.