Cancer Survivors Face Tougher Road to Access Health Care in Non-Expansion States

Study finds greater access to Medicaid needed for low income cancer survivors.

In a published analysis, investigators found that cancer survivors were less likely to have a personal doctor, annual checkups, and accessibility to health care services in states that do not have expanded Medicaid.

Due to the high cost of treatment, currently cancer survivors are frequently unable to see a doctor, which also held true in the era prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (odds ratios 0.76 and 1.14).

"Populations most affected are the low-income and uninsured,” said study author Cathy J. Bradley, PhD. “If cancer survivors cannot get the follow-up care they need, recurrences may be missed and long-term consequences of cancer treatment may not be appropriately managed."

Since most cancer survivors are high risk for developing other types of cancers, investigators found that it would be much more beneficial for low-income survivors if there was an increased availability to Medicaid.

Although the reasons for the differences in the study were outside their scope, researchers assume that non-expansion states have greater rates of uninsured individuals and stricter criteria for eligibility in the Medicaid programs already in place.