e number is likely to be even higher

e Background The Hepatitis C virus, or rather HCV, is a disease of the liver that begins as an acute illness, but for most will turn into a chronic disease lasting for the remainder of their lifetime.  This virus is usually transmitted through blood-blood contact via behaviors such as needle-sharing.  Previously, transmission was often made while a patient was in the hospital, but in 1992 the United States began screening hospital blood supplies to decrease risk of transmission for that avenue of infection (CDC Viral Hepatitis).  The United State’s Healthy People 2020 initiative has a goal of decreasing the incidence of Hepatitis C to less than .25 cases/100,000; however very few states have actually reached this goal, and as a nation we are in the midst of an increase rather than the opposite (CDC 2015).  Both acute and chronic HCV are treated with the same medications, and those with acute HCV can be treated to prevent the progression to chronic HCV.  While beginning treatments of HCV were all different and semi-frequent injections, have now evolved to be even more effective oral medications to be taken over the course of 8-12 weeks (Hepatitis C Support Project).         The Problem Approximately 2.7-3.9 million people are currently living with HCV, with the number of new cases being reported every year averaging a 19% increase each of the past four years of reported cases (CDC 2015).  The number is likely to be even higher due to many being completely unaware of their own infection.  According to the CDC, deaths directly and indirectly associated with HCV “exceeded exceeded the combined number of deaths with 60 other infectious diseases as underlying causes” and is the leading cause of liver cancer in the United States.  Medication is the only way to treat this disease, and currently Medicaid is part of the reason many do not have access to the needed treatment.  Many states within the US have adopted restrictions within their policies that act as a barrier to treatment of the majority of those with HCV enrolled in the Medicaid program.