The study showed that health insurance expansions increased early-stage cancer diagnoses, while rates of late-stage cancer decreased.
The scientists used data collected from cancer registries to track cancer diagnoses pre- and post- Medicaid expansion across different states. They found an immediate increase in early-stage cancer diagnoses within a year of ACA expansion, and a slight reduction in late-stage cancer diagnoses after three years.
“It is important to remember that while the ACA was passed 10 years ago, the key provisions weren’t implemented until 2014,” said co-author Lindsay Sabik, Ph.D., associate professor of health policy and management at Pitt Public Health, and member of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “Because we often don’t see the effects immediately, it’s important for us to keep studying the long-term consequences of health care reform.”
“Our study adds to the literature demonstrating the positive health effects of Medicaid expansion,” said senior author Coleman Drake, Ph.D., assistant professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management. “This is another case where, depending on the Supreme Court’s ruling, the beneficial effects of preventive care provided by Medicaid expansion could disappear.”