Affordable Care Act Linked To Marked Increase in Surgery for Thyroid Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Benjamin James, MD MS Assistant Professor of Surgery Adjunct Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology Section of Endocrine Surgery IU Division of General Surgery Indiana University Hospital Indianapolis, IN 46202

Dr. Benjamin James

Benjamin James, MD MS
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology
Section of Endocrine Surgery
IU Division of General Surgery
Indiana University Hospital
Indianapolis, IN 46202

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Over the few decades, there has been a substantial increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer. It is the fastest growing cancer and a recent study in JAMA found that the mortality rate has been rising.

In 2006, Massachusetts passed healthcare reform, which expanded Medicaid, created new subsidized insurance programs for those ineligible for Medicaid and extended young adults eligibility on parental plans until the age of 26.

The aim of our study was to evaluate the impact this has had on the treatment of thyroid cancer. To address this question, we used the Hospital Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases for Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Florida, which included a cohort of 56,581 inpatient admissions from 2001 to 2011. We then compared these states before and after the healthcare reform in Massachusetts to evaluate the effect the healthcare reform had on the treatment of thyroid cancer.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our study found that Massachusetts Healthcare Reform was associated with a 26% increased rate of thyroidectomy and a 22% increased rate of neck dissections. Although this is a dramatic increase in thyroid cancer treatment, it is not intended to address appropriateness of treatment. We believe these findings may be extrapolated at a national level as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our study is the first to address the impact of healthcare expansion on the rates of thyroidectomy and neck dissection with thyroid cancer. Although these findings are significant, it will be important to study this in more detail at a national level. Additionally, further studies should be conducted to evaluate the appropriateness of care in the treatment of thyroid cancer.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Loehrer AP, Murthy SS, Song Z, Lubitz CC, James BC. Association of Insurance Expansion With Surgical Management of Thyroid Cancer. JAMA Surg. Published online April 05, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0461

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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