Bottom Line: Cancer survivors were more likely to be insured but they still reported greater difficulties accessing and affording health care than adults without cancer, although the proportion of cancer survivors reporting those issues decreased in years that coincided with implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Why The Research Is Interesting: The number of cancer survivors continues to rise, with more than 15 million Americans living with a medical history of cancer. They are at high risk for financial burden related to their care. This article provides an updated analysis on the ability of cancer survivors to afford and access care and it explores whether access and affordability changed over time since the ACA was signed into law in 2010.
Who and When: National survey data from 2010 through 2016 for 15,182 cancer survivors and 15,182 adults with no reported history of cancer
What (Study Measures): Compared issues with health care access (delayed or forgone care) and affordability (inability to afford medications or health care services) between cancer survivors and those adults without cancer; examined changes over time in the proportion of cancer survivors reporting these issues
How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and they cannot control natural differences that could explain study findings.
Authors: Ryan D. Nipp, M.D., M.P.H., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and coauthors
Limitations: The study relies on self-reported questionnaires, the same participants were not included in each year's survey, and the authors cannot show definitively that the ACA alone caused decreases in issues over health care access and affordability for cancer survivors.
For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.
Editor's Note: The article contains funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
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