New Budget Includes VA Money for Hepatitis C Treatments

In the recently passed budget, Congress has set aside $1.5 billion for the treatment of hepatitis C for veterans. It has been recognized that many vets, especially those from the Vietnam era, have been diagnosed with the disease. In fact, many suggest that, overall, hepatitis C is a growing health issue for many veterans- some calling it an epidemic.

One of the major issues facing the effective treatment of this disease is its cost. While $1.5 billion is a lot of money, it will not last long as it is being reported that treatment for this form of hepatitis includes the use of medicine that costs over $1000 per tablet. A compete treatment regime would cost more than $84,000. Even with the VA’s 50% discount, treatment per person would run about $42,000.

When you consider that there are about 230,000 vets who have hepatitis C, one can see just how fast these funds will run out. It has been estimated that nearly 1 in 10 US vets are infected with the disease; this is 5 times higher than what is seen in the general US population. In order to fully treat all vets who are diagnosed with the disease, the cost would skyrocket to more than $9.6 billion.

For those who are not familiar with hepatitis C, it is a blood-borne virus and it can attack the individual’s liver. In some cases, it can lead to liver failure, liver cancer, or even death. It is estimated that last year some 3,000 vets died while in VA care because of hepatitis C.

HCVHepatitis C can enter the body via many ways:

  • Blood transfusions
  • Tattoos
  • Medical contact
  • Sexual contact
  • Recreational drug use

Vietnam-era veterans may be infected at higher rates due to the fact that during that time no one knew that hepatitis C could be transmitted via blood transfusions or that it could be introduced into the body by blood contact with those infected. This means that many medics and other medical personnel may have been exposed while treating bleeding wounds. It can also be transmitted when medical or dental instruments are not cleaned properly.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Robert Partain

Robert Partain

Robert Partain has been a professional writer for over 25 years. He spent ten years on active duty in the Army working as a medic and training NCO. While he covers any topic associated with military life, he specializes in writing about legislation that can affect active duty service members and veterans. Robert currently lives in the small town of Arab, Alabama.
Robert Partain
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