Gov. Haley’s veto of the SC Bleeding Disorders Premium Assistance Program has drawn necessary attention to one of the most expensive long-term chronic diseases that we face.
Bleeding disorders are inherited genetic conditions such as Hemophilia and Von Willebrand Disease. Persons with these disorders who suffer injuries will continue to bleed because their blood will not clot. A simple head injury, external cut or spontaneous internal bleed becomes potentially life-threatening.
As a means of protection, many children and adults with these conditions require infusions of synthetic clotting factor several times a week. The cost of the infusion begins at $1,000 per dose.
Over time, these infusion costs combined with other health care services become staggering. The costs eventually increase insurance premiums to the point that some people cannot afford them. At that point, Medicaid becomes their only option and taxpayers pay the full cost.
Currently, DHEC provides $100,000 to assist uninsured and underinsured bleeding disorder patients with the payment of insurance premiums. Since the program began in 2007, the program has assisted 20 patients and has saved the state of South Carolina $7,225,000 in clotting factor costs alone. This amount does not include the cost of any other health care services these patients received.
This program allows patients to use private insurance to pay the vast majority of their healthcare costs. It saves tax money. It provides a sound public/private solution to an expensive health issue. It should not be eliminated.