Advertisement

Even Before Affordable Care Act, Cancer Survivors in Nonexpansion States Had Less Health-Care Access

Advertisement

Key Points

  • Specifically, the study looked at whether cancer survivors across states had personal doctors, received an annual checkup, and reported inability to see a doctor because of cost.
  • Even in the health-care landscape as it existed before the Affordable Care Act, cancer survivors in states without expanded Medicaid were less likely to have a personal doctor and more likely to report inability to see a doctor due to cost (odds ratios = 0.76 and 1.14, respectively).

An analysis published by Tarazi et al in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship found that even in the health-care landscape before the Affordable Care Act, cancer survivors in states that had already expanded Medicaid coverage prior to passage of the Act had more access to health care than cancer survivors in states that had not expanded Medicaid.

“Populations most affected are the low-income and uninsured. If cancer survivors cannot get the follow-up care they need, recurrences may be missed and long-term consequences of cancer treatment may not be appropriately managed,” said Cathy J. Bradley, PhD, Associate Director for Population Science at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Professor in the Colorado School of Public Health.

The study used data from the 2012 and 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which collects annual health data of over 400,000 people living in the United States. Specifically, the study looked at whether cancer survivors across states had personal doctors, received an annual checkup, and reported inability to see a doctor because of cost.

Study Findings

Even before the Affordable Care Act was passed, cancer survivors in states without expanded Medicaid were less likely to have a personal doctor and more likely to report inability to see a doctor due to cost (odds ratios = 0.76 and 1.14, respectively). The study controlled for other possible factors that could determine access.

“The reasons for these disparities were outside the scope of the current study, but my guess is that nonexpansion states have higher uninsurance rates and more stringent eligibility criteria for their existing Medicaid programs,” Dr. Bradley said.

“While cancer survivors are at high risk of developing other cancers and experiencing late effects of treatment, our findings imply that survivors living in nonexpansion states are less likely to access health-care services that are necessary to receive the care they need,” the study authors wrote.

According to Dr. Bradley, the paper shows that increased access to Medicaid benefits low-income cancer survivors.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


Advertisement

Advertisement



Advertisement