Purpose: We sought to investigate the association between Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and access to stage-appropriate definitive treatment for breast, colon, non-small-cell lung, and prostate cancer for underserved racial and ethnic minorities and at minority-serving hospitals (MSHs).
Methods: We conducted a retrospective, difference-in-differences study including minority patients with nonmetastatic breast, colon, non-small-cell lung, and prostate cancer and patients treated at MSHs between the age of 40 and 64, with tumors at stages eligible for definitive treatment from the National Cancer Database. We not only defined non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic cancer patients as racial and ethnic minorities but also report findings for non-Hispanic Black cancer patients separately. We examined the effect of Medicaid expansion on receipt of stage-appropriate definitive therapy, time to treatment initiation (TTI) within 30 days of diagnosis, and TTI within 90 days of diagnosis.
Results: Receipt of definitive treatment for minorities in expansion states did not change compared with minority patients in nonexpansion states. The proportion of racial and ethnic minorities in expansion states receiving treatment within 30 days increased (difference-in-differences: +3.62%; 95% CI, 1.63 to 5.61; P < .001) compared with minority patients in nonexpansion states; there was no change for TTI within 90 days. Analysis focused on Black cancer patients yielded similar results. In analyses stratified by MSH status, there was no change in receipt of definitive therapy, TTI within 30 days, and TTI within 90 days when comparing MSHs in expansion states with MSHs in nonexpansion states.
Conclusion: In our cohort of cancer patients with treatment-eligible disease, we found no significant association between Medicaid expansion and changes in receipt of definitive treatment for breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer for racial and ethnic minorities and at MSHs. Medicaid expansion was associated with improved TTI at the patient level for racial and ethnic minorities, but not at the facility level for MSHs. Targeted interventions addressing the needs of MSHs are still needed to continue mitigating national facility-level disparities in cancer outcomes.