Breast Cancer Stage at Presentation in Ohio: The Effect of Medicaid Expansion and the Affordable Care Act

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Patients presenting with localized breast cancer have a five-year survival of 99 per cent, whereas survival falls to 27 per cent in advanced disease. This obviates the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. Our study evaluates the impact of Ohio’s Medicaid expansion and the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the stage at which Ohioans were diagnosed with breast cancer. Data were collected for 3056 patients presenting with breast cancer between 2006 and 2016 in the Dayton area. Patients were divided into groups based on cancer stage. The percentage of patients presenting with advanced disease (stage 3 or 4) was compared both before and after ACA implementation and Ohio Medicaid expansion. These results were also compared with statewide data maintained by the Ohio Department of Health. Compared with pre-ACA, the number of uninsured patients post-ACA was noted to fall 83 per cent, the number of patients presenting with Medicaid increased by five times, and the proportion of patients younger than 65 years presenting with breast cancer increased by approximately 7 per cent. These changes notwithstanding, no difference was identified in the percentage of patients presenting with advanced breast cancer before and after ACA implementation or Ohio Medicaid expansion (P 5 0.56). Statewide data similarly demonstrated no change (P 5 0.88). Improved insurance access had a smaller-thananticipated impact on the stage at which Ohioans presented with breast cancer. As significant morbidity and mortality can be avoided by earlier presentation, additional research is appropriate to identify factors affecting patients’ decision to seek breast cancer screening and care.

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