A new study from Indiana University has found that the Affordable Care Act led to an increase in early-stage cancer diagnosis in Medicaid expansion states like West Virginia.
The research suggests that public health insurance may increase cancer detection. Early cancer detection is linked to better outcomes for patients and fewer deaths. West Virginia has one of the highest rates of cancer in the nation.
The research found that Medicaid expansion increased early cancer detection rates by 6.4 percent from pre-ACA levels. There was no detectable impact on late stage cancer diagnosis rates.
Researchers concluded that expanding access to health insurance and health care has a measurable impact on diagnosis and treatment.
The study was published this month in the American Journal of Public Health.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.