Increase in cancer screening could be ACA’s reflection

After 2008, there was an increase in the screening for colorectal cancer among those belonging to lower socioeconomic status. This can be seen as a reflection of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) removing financial barriers for screening to take place. This was found by an analysis conducted through a study by American Cancer Society investigators and the study also appeared in an online journal called Cancer.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had within it a cost sharing provision which is meant to reduce financial constraints and barriers which cause problems with the use of preventive services which include the screening for CRC and BC i.e. colorectal cancer and breast cancer respectively. To check whether or not the provision has caused any impact to occur on the rates of screening, data was used from the National Health Interview Survey by Stacey Fedewa to compare the screening prevalence of both the types of cancers amongst those who were insured privately as well as those who were insured through Medicare. The adults whose data was used also included their socioeconomic status and the comparison was done for before and after the Affordable Care Act amendment was implemented. Data used included responses from 15,786 adults who were between the ages of 50 and 75 as part of the colorectal cancer screening analysis and 14,530 women who were aged between 40 and older for the breast cancer screening analysis.

The results indicated that screening analysis for colorectal cancer had risen between 2008 and 2013 from 57.3% and 61.2% respectively. Such a rise was seen to be the most evident in those who belonged to a lower income group, who were the least educated and who were insured by Medicare; the population which was expected to have benefited the most from the Affordable Care Act but not amongst those who belonged to the higher socioeconomic status. During the period prior to the Affordable Care Act which is the period between 2003 and 2008, colorectal screening also saw a rise amongst those individuals who were insured through Medicare however this increase was seen to be a universal measure across the various socioeconomic groups. The authors of the study state that such findings could be a result of the financial barriers being removed by the Affordable Care Act but also go on to state that such results could also suggest that they are a reflection of the continued underling trends present within this group taking part in the screening for colorectal cancer.

Breast cancer screening on the other hand did remain unchanged during this time period which could perhaps be a result of the lower costs associated with it, the existence of health initiatives for women such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and also perhaps because breast cancer screening is more prevalent in comparison to the estimate for the screening of colorectal cancer so there may be less room for improvement for its screening procedures.


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