20 Feb Has Medicaid Expansion Affected Access to Timely Cancer Care?
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Samuel Takvorian, MD, MS
Instructor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology
LDI Associate Professor
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansions have been associated with improved access to care, affordability, and for certain surgical and medical conditions, health outcomes. However, studies have also suggested unintended consequences such as lengthened wait times, and there is continued debate about the overall impact of the expansions.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Because patients with cancer may be particularly vulnerable to treatment delays, we asked how Medicaid expansion has affected access to timely cancer-directed treatment.
In the largest study with longest follow-up to date to examine the impact of the expansions on patients with cancer, we found that among patients with newly diagnosed breast, colon and lung cancer, Medicaid expansion was associated with positive impact on insurance status and stage at diagnosis, without evidence of treatment delay.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Further research is needed to evaluate the impact of the ACA’s Medicaid expansions on health outcomes, such as mortality or patient-reported outcomes, for patients with cancer. Additionally, further research is needed to examine more deeply the observed temporal trend toward lengthened time to treatment in both expansion and non-expansion states.
This finding warrants further study and may reflect an increasingly strained cancer workforce in the face of growing cancer prevalence, increasing complexity of care, and looming workforce shortages.
Takvorian SU, Oganisian A, Mamtani R, et al. Association of Medicaid Expansion Under the Affordable Care Act With Insurance Status, Cancer Stage, and Timely Treatment Among Patients With Breast, Colon, and Lung Cancer. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(2):e1921653. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.21653
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