By Katherine Lewin, Special to The Informer via DiversityInc
A report released Sunday shows that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not the scourge that Republicans make it out to be. In fact, the report found that the ACA is linked to a reduction in racial disparities in the care of cancer patients and to earlier diagnoses and treatment of ovarian cancer.
The report comes from the annual meeting in Chicago of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which attracts 40,000 cancer specialists to one of the largest meetings of its kind.
According to the study, before the ACA, Black people with advanced cancer were 4.8 percentage points less likely to start treatment within 30 days of being given a diagnosis. But today, Black adults in states that expanded Medicaid under the law have almost caught up with white patients in getting treatment faster.
The researchers who analyzed the data found that Black patients beginning treatment within a month of receiving diagnoses of any of eight different advanced cancers rose from 43.5 percent to 49.6 percent in states with expanded Medicaid, compared with a smaller improvement of 48.3 percent to 50.3 percent for white people.
Another study that also took racial disparity into account, found that after ACA, ovarian cancer was diagnosed at earlier stages and that more women began treatment within a month, which led to increased chances of survival of one of the worst cancers.
According to The Washington Post, health policy experts say this is consistent with previous studies that show the ACA means improved access to health insurance and medical care, especially for minorities.
Traditionally, Black people are less likely to have whites than insurance, which means it takes longer to find doctors and get financial help for medical bills.
Not surprisingly, another study released on Sunday found that people with multiple myeloma, a serious blood cancer, have better outcomes if they had private insurance, lived in higher-income areas and received treatment at academic medical centers, according to The Washington Post.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer.