Dear Sen. Denning,
I read this week that you were the genius behind proposing that Hepatitis C patients who are on Kansas Medicaid either follow the treatment plan to a Capital T for TREATMENT or get CUT OFF from Medicaid.
“If we have patients that are abusing an $80,000 drug, then there have to be consequences,” Denning said, contending that money could be used to treat children instead.
One might read into this like it’s just another example of Kansas lawmakers attacking the poor in our state. First it was the welfare bill that required recipients to only be able to take out $25 at a time from an ATM and now it’s this recommendation that says that if you drink alcohol while being treated for Hepatitis C you are cut off from treatment. How could people possible read into this as another anti-poor person measure in Kansas?
I agree that some tough love ALWAYS makes perfect sense. I’m sure it must be so frustrating when you speak to patients on a daily basis who don’t follow their treatment plans.
Wait – you aren’t a doctor? Well this is awkward. My bad.
Well, I’m sure as a patient, you and your fellow male lawmakers in Topeka, ALWAYS follow the Viagra warning label not to mix alcohol with your boner bills. And if you can do it – EVERYONE can do it!
Forget addressing addiction issues or giving people second chances. It’s our way or the Kansas highways! (Feel free to use that as the tag line when you roll this whole thing out.)
Here’s the weird thing Sen. Denning – I found this Medicaid Drug Rebate Notice from the Department of Health and Human Services dated November 5th that talks all about what you just recommended in Kansas. It addresses the high cost of Hepatitis C medication and how the DHH is working with states to negotiate lower prices. It also has this section about denying access to medication for patients based on alcohol use:
“Certain states are also requiring a period of abstinence from drug and alcohol abuse as a condition for payment for DAA HCV drugs. In addition, several states are requiring that prescriptions for DAA HCV drugs must be prescribed by, or in consultation with specific provider types, like gastroenterologists, hepatologists, liver transplant specialists, or infectious disease specialists in order for payments to be provided for the drug. While states have the discretion to establish certain limitations on the coverage of these drugs, such as preferred drug lists and use of prior authorization processes,2 such practices must be consistent with requirements of section 1927(d) of the Act to ensure appropriate utilization. As such, the effect of such limitations should not result in the denial of access to effective, clinically appropriate, and medically necessary treatments using DAA drugs for beneficiaries with chronic HCV infections. States should, therefore, examine their drug benefits to ensure that limitations do not unreasonably restrict coverage of effective treatment using the new DAA HCV drugs.”
In all seriousness – I’m not upset that sick Kansans need drug therapy to stay alive. I am upset that our lawmakers are wasting Kansans taxpayer dollars on panels recommending things that were resolved in a memo dated a month prior. How about if you leave the medical judgement to the physicians and the Department of Health and Human Services?
Yours for providing life saving medical care to all Kansans,