This study aims to evaluate the trends in cancer (CA) admissions and surgeries after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion.
This is a retrospective study using HCUP-SID analyzing inpatient CA (pancreas, esophagus, lung, bladder, breast, colorectal, prostate, and gastric) admissions and surgeries pre- (2010–2013) and post- (2014) Medicaid expansion. Surgery was defined as observed resection rate per 100 cancer admissions. Nonexpansion (FL) and expansion states (IA, MD, and NY) were compared. A generalized linear model with a Poisson distribution and logistic regression was used with incidence rate ratios (IRR) and difference-in-differences (DID).
There were 317, 858 patients in our sample which included those with private insurance, Medicaid, or no insurance. Pancreas, breast, colorectal, prostate, and gastric CA admissions significantly increased in expansion states but decreased in nonexpansion states. (IRR 1.12, 1.14, 1.11, 1.34, 1.23; P < .05) Lung and colorectal CA surgeries (IRR 1.30, 1.25; P < .05) increased, while breast CA surgeries (IRR 1.25; P < .05) decreased less in expansion states. Government subsidized, or self-pay patients had greater odds of undergoing lung, bladder, and colorectal CA surgery (OR 0.45 vs 0.33; 0.60 vs 0.48; 0.47 vs 0.39; P < .05) in expansion states after reform.
In states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the ACA, the rate of surgeries for colorectal and lung CA increased significantly, while breast CA surgeries decreased less. Parenthetically, these cancers are subject to population screening programs. We conclude that expanding insurance coverage results in enhanced access to cancer surgery.