Untreated hepatitis C can lead to serious and life-threatening health problems like cirrhosis and liver cancer. Direct-acting antiviral therapies introduced in recent years are highly effective, with cure rates above 95%.

But most Medicaid beneficiaries with hepatitis C don’t get these drugs, which cost $20,000-$30,000, due to state budget constraints.

Now, a new USC study finds that a Medicaid-Medicare partnership could cover the lifesaving medications — and still save $1 to $1.1 billion over 25 years. Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides health coverage for low-income families and others. Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older.

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