DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, cancer deaths, especially pancreatic cancer, were lower in states that participated in early Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act, compared to states that did not.
In the study lead by Duke Cancer Institute, researchers found that California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Minnesota, Washington and Washington, D.C., saw rates of cancer deaths decline by 7.7%.
By comparison, in the 19 states that did not expand Medicaid, the drop in cancer death rates was just 6.3%.
“It is important to be able to show that there has been a mortality benefit associated with Medicaid expansion,” said lead author Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, Ph.D., an assistant professor in Duke’s Department of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences. “Expanding access to health care enabled people to seek care earlier rather than waiting or not going to the doctor at all. And there is quite a bit of evidence that catching cancer early is better for outcomes.”
According to the study, researchers estimated a decrease of approximately 5,276 deaths.