Has the Affordable Care Act reduced social and economic disparities in cancer detection?

It is believed that out-of-pocket spending is an important barrier to accessing cancer prevention services, especially for people with low socioeconomic status. A new study examines how the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which eliminates these out-of-pocket expenses, affects the use of mammography and colonoscopy. The study was published online in Cancer, a journal has been peer-reviewed by the American Cancer Society, advanced keto the study found that the use of mammography, but not a colonoscopy, increased after ACA.

To determine changes in the use of mammography and colonoscopy among Medicare beneficiaries for a fee before and after the application of the ACA, both Gregory Cooper, general director of Hospitals at Cleveland University Medical Center and the Center for Comprehensive Cancer Case Management, and his colleagues examined Medicare’s claims data. Identify women who are older than 70 years without a mammogram in the last two years, men and women of 70 years at higher risk of colorectal cancer without a colonoscopy in the last five years. The team also identified patients who were evaluated during the two years prior to the implementation of ACA (2009-2010) and after implementation (2011 – September 2012).

After eliminating out-of-pocket costs for cancer recommended by the ACA, absorption of mammography increased in all economic subgroups, including the poorest. On the other hand, the disparities existing in the socioeconomic level have not changed in the colonoscopy. The researchers suspect that this may be due to other barriers related to colonoscopy, such as the need for bowel preparation or a gap where there is still a subset of the colonoscopy requiring out-of-pocket expenses.

Dr. Cooper said: “Although the future of the ACA has become questionable now, the support of the results, at least for mammography, eliminates the financial obstacles associated with the improvement in cancer detection.” “The results have implications for other efforts to provide services to patients with traditionally underserved services, including the use of the Medicaid Expansion.”

At this stage, it is not known what provisions of the ACA, if any, will continue under the new administration. Attorney Tom Price, a candidate for the President of the Department of Health and Human Services, drafting an earlier bill, which is “to allow the patient’s first law,” which establishes the proposed changes in the care of the Health, however, does not provide details about the specific requirements for each of the government-funded special insurance programs, including coverage for recommended preventive services.

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