The Affordable Care Act offers significant opportunities to advance efforts towards the goals set out in the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) road map to increase viral hepatitis awareness and knowledge among health care providers and communities, and to improve access to quality prevention, care, and treatment services for viral hepatitis.
As we celebrate the third anniversary of the passage of health reform and ready communities for the launch of state-based health insurance marketplaces in October, to help raise awareness of how health reform efforts support the implementation of the Action Plan the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) has released a primer, The Affordable Care Act and the Silent Epidemic: Increasing the Viral Hepatitis Response through Health Reform .
This new resource provides an overview of how health reform offers opportunities to improve access to essential care and treatment for people living with viral hepatitis, as well as to diagnose viral hepatitis earlier and prevent new infections. The NASTAD primer highlights how the Affordable Care Act can improve access to viral hepatitis prevention, care and treatment through expansion of public and private insurance, reforms that eliminate discriminatory insurance practices and make insurance coverage more affordable, and significant investments in prevention, care coordination, and health workforce and infrastructure.
The Affordable Care Act “provides necessary tools to assist with implementation of the Action Plan,” observes Mr. Oscar Mairena, NASTAD’s Manager of Viral Hepatitis/Policy and Legislative Affairs. “Perhaps the most significant opportunity presented by the ACA is the potential to integrate viral hepatitis services into broader health systems, particularly important given that there is no separate health infrastructure for those infected with viral hepatitis, unlike for people living with HIV (PLWH) through the Ryan White Program.”