The American Cancer Society released a report today linking lack of health care coverage with poorer survival outcomes in cancer patients.
Published in the January/February issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, the report shows that although Americans are experiencing lower cancer-related mortality rates overall due to better screening and detection methods, education and prevention tactics, and treatment approaches, uninsured patients are still 1.6 times more likely to die within five years than privately insured patients.
According to The National Health Interview Survey, the two age groups most likely to go without health insurance are adults aged 18 – 24 and 25 – 34. The same report also found that nearly half of individuals in low-income households were without insurance within a year of being surveyed and that Hispanic and American Indian households were also more likely to be uninsured than other demographic groups.
Unfortunately, cancer patients covered under Medicare also have their own barriers to treatment — starting on January 1, lymphoma patients undergoing certain regimens will be allowed only a $16,000 reimbursement of the $30,000 hospitalization stay needed to administer treatment.
Considering how far we’ve gone in our understanding in cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, it’s really frustrating to know that better alternatives are available for a significant portion of modern-day patients. Unfortunately, I’m inclined to agree with the folks at The Stupid Cancer Blog when they said that the easiest way to get health insurance was to not get cancer.