Two Washington residents who were suffering from Hepatitis C and on Medicaid sued the Washington State Health Care Authority to get treatment with direct acting anti-viral medications, a newly approved cure for Hepatitis C. In a victory for themselves and thousands of other Washingtonians on Medicaid who have Hep C, a federal judge struck down the state’s rationing policy which limited access to the cure to only patients whose liver had been irreparably damaged by the disease, even though the scientific evidence shows that the cure is more effective and produces better health results the earlier it is provided. The plaintiffs successfully argued that forcing Medicaid enrollees to wait until their health worsened violated clinical guidelines of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

Notice of the successful outcome with advice about accessing treatment was mailed to more than 25,000 Medicaid enrollees who were known or suspected by the state to have Hep C. After notice was sent out, Columbia Legal Services fielded hundreds of calls and emails from Medicaid enrollees, offering advice and guidance about how to get treatment, and, in some cases, intervened with the state to secure treatment.