Poor Cancer Outcomes Among the Uninsured and those on Medicaid

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, examined national statistics for the period between 2007 to 2010 for people aged 18-64 of age.

A new U.S. study finds that cancer patients who don't have insurance -- or who get it through the federal health insurance program for the poor (Medicaid) -- are at much higher risk of poor medical outcomes than other people.

They're more likely to have advanced cancer when they're diagnosed, less likely to be treated with surgery or radiation and more likely to die of their disease, researchers report.

The findings don't explain the discrepancies, and they don't say anything about how health care reform might change the fates of poor patients with cancer. Still, they offer a worrisome picture of the American health care system in the years right before the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as some call it, was passed.

"We were surprised to find that patients without insurance were twice as likely as those with insurance to present with cancer that's spread from the place where it first started," said study author Dr. Gary Walker, a radiation oncologist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer in Houston. "Even when adjusting for many different factors, patients were still more likely to die if they had Medicaid coverage or no insurance."

Original report: http://bit.ly/Vg6kVD

Source: US News