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Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Rebekah Gee, left, confers with Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne at the State Capitol in this 2017 photo.

When a deadly disease is treatable, but the price is out of reach for many people, that’s an obvious problem in our health care system.

When the disease is highly infectious, like hepatitis C, the threat is larger and requires a response from the system before more people get it and deaths rise. Costs do, too, at $24,000 per patient.

Louisiana is doing something right in health care, trying out a better way to get access to hep C treatments for poor people. Not least, the new purchasing model is intended to make it more affordable for the state to treat prisoners with the disease before it spreads in the close quarters of state prisons.

The state is trying a “Netflix” model of buying drugs. In essence, it is a subscription for the generic drug used for hepatitis C.

In Australia, the government pioneered the use of a contract for getting the drugs, using the unlimited purchases to attack infectious disease, just as viewers of movies on subscription services can watch the movies when they want them.

The earlier the drug is available, the better the chance for a cure, and the greater the likelihood that the disease won’t spread further.

The deal struck by Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, is intended to make a Netflix model work and lower the cost to the state for drugs for those who are not on private insurance. Insurers can typically negotiate lower prices for hep C drugs.

The hope is that the new process would not only lower the price to a half or a third of what the state is now paying for its vulnerable populations. It would also provide unlimited access, in exchange for a guaranteed payment to the pharmaceutical company for five years.

The goal is to provide broad enough coverage of the drug to knock down the large population of sufferers. Medicaid has more than 30,000 such patients, and among those incarcerated are about 4,000.

With an infectious disease, limiting the spread of the infection is vital to protecting the public.

Over five years, Gee said the plan would save the state money and knock down this infectious disease. That is a real two-fer.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the Louisiana plan is “a hepatitis C elimination strategy.” That should be the goal when a disease is so easily spread and costs so much to treat effectively.

It’s a significant step, and if it works, it might be a model for other more cost-effective approaches.