Experts calls for TB to be added to Affordable Care Act as a qualifying medical condition

In a presentation to the Advisory council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis, Dr. Barbara Seaworth proposed that the Affordable Care Act  be amended to add TB as a qualifying medical condition.

As it is written now, the ACA only covers TB services to children in high risk environments. The proposed change would give healthcare providers a financial incentive to provide services. A lack of prompt treatment leads to sicker patients and higher costs for treatment as well as an increased danger of spreading disease.

The most effective response to the spread of TB is prompt and effective treatment of carriers. A number of other diseases have been given a “Treatment is Prevention” label but TB has not. HIV is one notable example for which there is strong support for testing and treatment for patient care but also as a preventative measure in the public sphere.

One of the largest challenges going forward is the fact that effective treatments make TB a comparatively rare disease. That can mean that it often falls through the cracks in healthcare policy. It is, however, far from being eliminated entirely. Due in part to cases being imported from other countries with much higher rates of infection TB, it will remain an important public health issue and one that often hits hardest those with the least access to quality affordable healthcare, making it essential that public health policy recognizes TB as an issue and takes steps to make treatment available.