Medicaid expansion under ACA linked to fewer cancer deaths

2020 01 23 17 12 7489 Women Cancer Patient 400

States that expanded Medicaid after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 saw greater declines in cancer mortality than states that didn't expand Medicaid access, according to new data presented virtually at the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting.

The new data come from researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center in New York City. The team wanted to study how cancer mortality related to Medicaid expansion, given previous research indicating that better access to healthcare improves cancer survival.

They found that states that expanded Medicaid experienced a 29% decrease in age-adjusted cancer mortality, compared with a 25% decline in states that didn't expand Medicaid.

In states with Medicaid expansion, cancer mortality fell from 65.1 deaths per 100,000 individuals in 1999 to 46.3 deaths per 100,000 individuals in 2017. States that didn't expand Medicaid saw cancer mortality fall from 69.5 per 100,000 individuals to 52.3 per 100,000 individuals during that same time period.

Further, fewer black patients with cancer died in states that expanded Medicaid compared with states that didn't. Black patients' cancer mortality was 58.5 deaths per 100,000 individuals in expansion states, compared with 63.4 deaths per 100,000 individuals in nonexpansion states.

The study used data from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, and the researchers adjusted for baseline trends between 1999 and 2017. They only included patients under the age of 65, as individuals age 65 and older are eligible for Medicare.

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