Penn Medicine Professor and LDI Senior Fellow Justin Bekelman, MD, is prominently quoted in a Washington Post article about two new oncology studies that suggest the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid significantly decreased a disparites between blacks and whites in a crucial area of cancer care.

[content_elements:element:0]Released over the weekend at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the studies were entitled Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion impact on racial disparities in time to cancer treatment and Impact of the Affordable Care Act on early-stage diagnosis and treatment for women with ovarian cancer.

The first study focused on a disparity in which African Americans were less likely to start treatment for their disease within 30 days of being diagnosed; the second on how long it took after an ovarian cancer diagnosis for women of difference races to begin treatment.

‘Specific impacts’
“What’s new here are findings that the ACA and Medicaid expansions have had specific impacts on patients with cancer, and that’s great,” said Bekelman, a radiation oncology and Director of the Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation at the Abramson Cancer Center who was not involved in conducting either study.

But he emphasized to the Post that the two investigations did not address whether the ACA improved the quality of life or lengthened survival. He said it was “logical” that the ACA has had those effects, but “we need the evidence.”