Medicaid expansion linked to increased cancer survival

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More lower-income Americans are surviving cancer due to expanded Medicaid health care coverage, a new study shows.
Researchers found a link between long-term survival of patients newly diagnosed with cancer -- across all stages and types of the disease -- and expanded Medicaid income eligibility.

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In other words, survival odds improved in states that granted Medicaid coverage at higher levels of income.

"So far, little has been known about the effects of state Medicaid income eligibility and cancer outcomes," said study author Jingxuan Zhoa, an associate scientist with the American Cancer Society.

"We found that patients living in states with lower Medicaid income eligibility limits had worse long-term survival," Zhoa said.

Medicaid is the health insurance program for poorer people in the United States. Income eligibility limits vary widely from state to state.

One of the provisions of the 2014 Affordable Care Act was to help states expand Medicaid coverage for non-elderly adults to up to 138% of the federal poverty level.

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So far, 38 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid income limits, and the list is growing, including Arkansas last month.

The study included nearly 1.5 million adults aged 18 to 64. They were diagnosed with one of 17 common cancers between 2010 and 2013 and were in the National Cancer Database.

Looking at early-stage breast cancer patients who were followed for up to eight years, researchers found a strong association between greater Medicaid access and…
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