Affordable Care Act Increased Early Stage Cancer Diagnosis

In the years following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, early-stage cancer diagnosis increased while late-stage fell.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) lead to an increase in early-stage cancer diagnosis, according to research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

An upcoming Supreme Court case could potentially strike down the law. The study authors argue that striking down the law could have a detrimental impact on the nation’s health.

For the study, investigators used data collected from cancer registries to track cancer diagnoses before and after Medicaid expansion across different states. They found that insurance expansion was associated with increased early-stage cancer diagnosis whereas rates of late-stage diagnosis went down slightly.

"Our study adds to the literature demonstrating the positive health effects of Medicaid expansion," said senior author Coleman Drake, PhD, assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh Public Health's Department of Health Policy and Management, in a press release. "This is another case where, depending on the Supreme Court's ruling, the beneficial effects of preventive care provided by Medicaid expansion could disappear."

Investigators said it may take time to see the full effects of Medicaid expansion and that future research is needed. Although the ACA was passed 10 years ago, some key provisions weren’t in effect until 2014.


Increased early-stage cancer diagnoses tied to ACA's Medicaid expansion, Pitt study finds [News Release] November 12, 2020; Pittsburgh, PA. Accessed November 12, 2020.