As we previously reported, health care coverage is linked to cancer survival outcomes. Since the American Cancer Society released this groundbreaking report, Battling Cancer has been following recent developments on the link between cancer, insurance and mortality rates:
Clear Correlation Between Insurance Status and Mortality
Recently, the non-partisan economic and social policy research group, Urban Institute, released a report entitled, “Uninsured and Dying Because of It: Updating the Institute of Medicine Analysis on the Impact of Uninsurance on Mortality.” The complete report, available on their website as a .pdf, estimates that 137,000 people will die in the United States this year due to lack of insurance. This places it after heart disease and cancer as the third-leading general cause of death in the country.
If You’re Eligible for Insurance, Grab It!
According to a recent study, only 10 million of the 25 million United States veterans who were eligible took advantage of the free health care benefits due to them in the 2006 fiscal year. The Veteran’s Administration office reports that the leading reason behind this was because veterans are often unaware that they even had health care benefits.
Insured Cancer Patients: Pick Your Battles
A recent study in the January / February 2008 issue of Health Affairs entitled, “Is Spending More Always Wasteful? The Appropriateness of Care and Outcomes among Colorectal Cancer Patients” suggests that even high Medicare spending might not lead to lower cancer mortality rates. The authors suggest that health care spending should be better targeted to cancer patients who would benefit most from treatments.
Based on our current models of health care, it looks as if even if we found a silver bullet that cured cancer, we’d still have people who would be suffering. Looks like we should refocus more of our dollars in cancer screening and preventative education. In the meantime, check out our round-up of 25+ Financial Assistance Resources for Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Caregivers.