What can an interested person do? There is a supplemental $1 million appropriation item in the public health appropriations bill in the current legislative session to assist in the opening of the aforementioned hepatitis C clinic. The funds would be directed through the state public health department. People can call their state senator or representative and tell them of their support.
This appropriation should not be taken from the proposed budget for the public health department, as it makes no sense to rob Peter to pay Paul. Medical economists have calculated a 20-to-1 return in health care cost savings for every dollar spent on treatment of hepatitis C. It is quite reasonable to postulate that $1 million spent this year will save $5 million to $10 million in the state Medicaid budget five to 10 years from now.
Bader is director of liver diseases for the VA Medical Center and the OU Health Sciences Center. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the position of the Veteran's Administration or the University of Oklahoma.