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Racial disparities in time to cancer care erased with Medicaid expansion



– For decades investigators have documented racial disparities in access to cancer care and in clinical outcomes, with socioeconomic factors suspected – but not conclusively proven – to play a role

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Now a new study based on electronic health record (EHR) data shows that after Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), racial differences in timely cancer treatment effectively disappeared. Before Medicaid expansion, African Americans were 4.8% less likely than whites to receive timely cancer treatment, defined as treatment starting within 30 days of diagnosis of an advanced or metastatic solid tumor. After Medicaid expansion, however, the difference between the racial groups had dwindled to just 0.8% and was no longer statistically significant.

The findings suggest that the expanded availability of health insurance has had a salutary effect on cancer care.

In this video interview, co-authors Amy J. Davidoff, PhD, MS, from the Yale Cancer Center in New Haven Connecticut, and Blythe J.S. Adamson, PhD, from Flatiron Health in New York, New York, discuss the study findings and the possible implications for health care policy in the United States.

The study was funded by Flatiron Health. Dr. Adamson is an employee of the company. Dr. Davidoff disclosed consulting or advisory roles with and honoraria from several pharmaceutical companies.

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