Quality Cancer Care Still a Goal, Not a Reality, for Most Low-Income Americans

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today called for major reform of Medicaid to ensure access to life-saving screening, treatment and prevention services for low-income Americans with cancer.

“In the new ‘ASCO Policy Statement on Medicaid Reform,’ published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the Society called for Medicaid expansion in all 50 states to close critical coverage gaps, to improve cancer screening and prevention services, and to end coverage restrictions that prevent Medicaid enrollees from receiving high-quality cancer care, among other recommendations.

“Currently, 67.9 million Americans — about one-fifth of the U.S. population — are enrolled in Medicaid, including those added under the Affordable Care Act expansion. Of these, an estimated 2.1 million are cancer patients or cancer survivors.* Yet studies show that Medicaid patients often do not receive the same quality of cancer care as patients with private insurance, and they are up to three times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a late stage, when treatment is less likely to be effective.[1]

” ‘Every patient should be able to receive high-quality cancer care, regardless of his or her financial circumstances,’ said ASCO President Peter Paul Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO. ‘Millions of Americans who rely on Medicaid won’t be able to take advantage of advances in cancer prevention and treatment unless meaningful reform occurs.’ “