Ohio Medicaid Cancer Patients Survive Less Time

January 3, 2012


Karin Rhodes, MD, MS, director of Emergency Care Policy Research in the department of Emergency Medicine and a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, is quoted in a Reuters story about a new study showing that cancer patients on Medicaid in Ohio survive less time after their diagnosis than people with private or no insurance. Rhodes said the results “really highlight the importance of fully implementing the Affordable Care Act and getting everybody fully insured." However, she said, many factors might be involved in explaining the survival gap between patients with private or no insurance and those on Medicaid. Although the researchers tried to rule out some of those -- age, zip code, and cancer stage, among others -- it's impossible to account for all the factors that might be at play. Still, to Rhodes, it's a question of access to good primary care. "I doubt that there are huge disparities in the type of treatment they got," she said. "I think it is when they got it." Last year, she published a study showing that sick kids covered by Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) must wait twice as long as those with private insurance to see a specialist. "Physicians' willingness to give a timely appointment or to give an appointment to someone is directly proportional to how much reimbursement they get," Rhodes said... Read More