DETROIT (AP) — A judge has given preliminary approval to a deal that would expand access to hepatitis C treatments for Michigan residents on Medicaid.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s health department was accused of limiting new antiviral medicine only to the most serious cases. Hepatitis C can greatly damage the liver.

Under a lawsuit settlement, the state will increase access to people with certain hepatitis C conditions on Oct. 1. All hepatitis C patients on Medicaid will be eligible in fall 2019.

Federal Judge Denise Page Hood gave preliminary approval last week. She also set a fairness hearing for Aug. 8, a key step toward final approval.

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Medicaid is a federal-state health program for people with low income. The state earlier had cited cost as a reason to limit the treatment.

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Judge gives early OK to deal to expand Medicaid hep C relief