Cancer Prevention Program Members Conduct Big Data Studies to Uncover Disparities in Access, Improve Patient Outcomes in Cancer

Following Medicaid Expansion Individuals with Low-Income Less Likely to be Diagnosed with Advanced Cancers

A new study published in CANCER (Kim, CANCER, 2020) indicates the expansion of Medicaid led to earlier detection of cancer in individuals with low-income. Their findings suggest Medicaid expansion will have widespread meaningful health impact. 

In 2014, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, many states began to expand Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. At that time, Medicaid enrollment significantly increased with many new enrollees reporting they were previously uninsured. With this new coverage, people were more likely to receive consistent medical care and be screened for cancer, improving patient outcomes. 

The team of investigators from the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Uriel Kim BS, MD/PhD Candidate, Siran Koroukian PhD, Abby Statler PhD, MPH and Johnie Rose MD, PhD, compared data before Medicaid expansion (2011 to 2013) and after Medicaid expansion (2014 to 2016), noting whether patients were diagnosed with early (non-metastatic) or advanced (metastatic) cancer. They found individuals who were diagnosed after the expansion had 15% lower odds of having advanced disease compared with those who were diagnosed before the expansion.

Based on these results, the team concluded Medicaid expansion is associated with closing the gap in cancer outcome disparity in adults from low-income communities. They also noted that because stage of diagnosis is such a large predictor of patient survival, their findings suggest Medicaid expansion will have a meaningful public health impact.