18 Sep Access to Treatment for Head/Neck Cancer Patients Improved with Medicaid Expansion
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Richard B. Cannon, MD
Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
School of Medicine
University of Utah, Salt Lake City
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a nationwide effort to reduce the number of uninsured individuals in the United States and increase access to health care. This legislation is commonly debated and objective data is needed to evaluate its impact. As a head and neck cancer surgeon, I sought to evaluate how the ACA had specifically influenced my patients. Main findings below:
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: This population-based study found an increase in the percentage of patients enrolled in Medicaid and private insurance and a large decrease in the rates of uninsured patients after implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This change was only seen in states that adopted the Medicaid expansion in 2014. The decrease in the rate of uninsured patients was significant, 6.2% before versus 3.0% after. Patients who were uninsured prior to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had poorer survival outcomes.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Survival data after the ACA was enacted has not yet been release, (from the SEER database) so this study was unable to evaluate differences in mortality associated with Head and Neck Cancer before and after the ACA was passed. This will be another important data point as we continually evaluate the effectiveness of this bill, and we as a medical community should seek to define others to help shape and influence the debate on health care since we are fighting on the front lines.
Cannon RB, Shepherd HM, McCrary H, et al. Association of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act With Insurance Coverage for Head and Neck Cancer in the SEER Database. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg.Published online September 13, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.1792
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