Improved access to health insurance has led to reduced racial disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
As reported by the Washington Post,
According to researchers involved in the racial-disparity study, before the ACA went into effect, African Americans with advanced cancer were 4.8 percentage points less likely to start treatment for their disease within 30 days of being given a diagnosis. But today, black adults in states that expanded Medicaid under the law have almost entirely caught up with white patients in getting timely treatment, researchers said.
Another study found that since the reform law’s implementation in Medicaid expansion states, women are being diagnosed and treated earlier for ovarian cancer than they were in the past.
Many of these patients receiving more timely care are served by private safety-net hospitals, which care for more Medicaid patients than most community hospitals.
Researchers also note that disparities, so often viewed from a racial and socio-demographic perspective, are now being seen on a geographic basis depending on whether individual states expanded their Medicaid program. As one observer explained,
We are moving from black-white disparities to Massachusetts versus Mississippi disparities.
Learn more from the Washington Post article “ACA linked to reduced racial disparities, earlier diagnosis and treatment in cancer care.”