MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nengliang “Aaron” Yao PhD
Department of Public Health Sciences
University of Virginia
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The ACA made several changes in Medicare that could increase the use of cancer screening and thus lead to more early cancer diagnoses. This includes waiving patient cost-sharing for screening, waiving patient cost-sharing for one wellness visit per year, and paying bonuses to physicians for doing more work in a primary care setting.
We studied how effective those changes were in facilitating more early diagnoses of breast and colorectal cancers. We found that the changes had no effect on early breast cancer diagnoses (likely because costs and other access barriers for mammograms were already low), but increased the number of early colorectal cancer diagnoses by 8 percent.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Reducing price and access barriers for colorectal cancer screening is effective in terms of diagnosing colorectal cancers at an earlier and more treatable stage.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We were not able to separate the importance of eliminating price vs. non-price barriers to colorectal screening. This is important because the ACA (or any replacement plan we are aware of) does not require non-Medicare health insurers to waive patient cost-sharing for one wellness visit per year.
Similarly, the ACA (or any replacement plan we are aware of) no longer includes a bonus for physicians doing most of their work in primary care.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?
Response: We have no outside interests to disclose. This was a non-partisan policy evaluation.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Affordable Care Act Changes To Medicare Led To Increased Diagnoses Of Early-Stage Colorectal Cancer Among Seniors
Brett Lissenden and Nengliang “Aaron” Yao
Health Aff January 2017 36:1101-107; doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2016.0607
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