Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

More women getting breast screenings in states that expanded Medicaid, study finds

A radiologist compares an image from earlier, 2-D technology mammogram to the new 3-D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis mammography in Wichita Falls, Texas, in 2012. A new study finds that low-income women are more likely to get screened for breast cancer if they live in a state that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act than in a state like Florida that didn't. [Times file photo]



A radiologist compares an image from earlier, 2-D technology mammogram to the new 3-D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis mammography in Wichita Falls, Texas, in 2012. A new study finds that low-income women are more likely to get screened for breast cancer if they live in a state that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act than in a state like Florida that didn't. [Times file photo]

If you're a low-income woman, you're more likely to get screened for breast cancer if you live in a state that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act than in a state like Florida that didn't.

According to new research, low-income women who lived in a handful of early-adopter states that implemented Medicaid expansion by 2011 were 25 percent more likely to be screened for breast cancer in 2012 than women in non-expansion states. That's a big change from 2008, when low-income women in both sets of states had similar odds of being screened. The study was presented Monday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

The researchers weren't surprised by the results and had hoped to see an effect from the Medicaid expansion, says lead author Soudabeh Fazeli Dehkordy. "We would expect to see actually greater differences if we redo the analysis today with 2015 (data)," says Fazeli Dehkordy, a first-year resident at St. John Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states had the option of expanding Medicaid to cover low-income people living at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have expanded the health insurance program, while 20 states, including Florida, are not adopting the expansion at this time.

Florida lawmakers have twice rejected the policy, and are not expected to consider it during the upcoming Legislative session that begins Jan. 12.

Fazeli Dehkordy and her colleagues used data from the 2008 and 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to look at roughly 31,000 American women ages 40 to 70 who self-reported how often they got mammograms. When the researchers adjusted for age, race, education and income, they found that low-income women in the early-expansion states in 2012 — which included California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington and the District of Columbia — were 25 percent more likely to get screened than women in non-expansion states.

Several studies have indicated a general decline in mammography rates following updated recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in 2009, Fazeli Dehkordy says. Those recommendations suggested that women could wait until age 50 before beginning regular mammograms and, at that point, begin getting them every other year. "There has been a lot of controversy regarding the importance of screening mammography, especially regarding the best age," Fazeli Dehkordy says.

Indeed, the guidelines can still be confusing to women: the American Cancer Society updated its guidelines in October, pushing back the age at which it recommends women begin annual screenings from 40 to 45.

Yet despite the overall decline in screening rates, the rates among low-income women stayed steady from 2008 to 2012 in states that expanded Medicaid early on, the researchers found.

The next step for research, Fazeli Dehkordy says, is to explore whether expanded coverage and more mammograms translate to better health outcomes with regard to breast cancer. For this study, the researchers did not look into whether low-income women who are now on Medicaid had difficulty finding providers where they could obtain screenings or specialists to follow up with if a screening finds something abnormal.

More women getting breast screenings in states that expanded Medicaid, study finds 12/02/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 2, 2015 5:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ex-sheriff's official says sheriff intentionally hid federal inmate revenue from county

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — The former third-in-command at the Hernando County Sheriff's Office has filed a complaint, alleging that Sheriff Al Nienhuis intentionally hid from the County Commission $1.3 million in revenue he collected from housing federal inmates last year.

    OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times  Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said he was "extremely disappointed'' to hear of James Terry's allegations about the sheriff's handling of federal inmate dollars and noted that Terry was "offered the opportunity to resign from his position at the Sheriff's Office when numerous complaints as to his unprofessional conduct began flowing into the front office.''
  2. Fewer minions make things better in 'Despicable Me 3'

    Movies

    Despicable Me 3 doubles down on Steve Carell's silly way with words, a smart idea after too much Minions gibberish spoiled part 2. They're still here, in smaller doses and somewhat funnier for it.

     voiced by Trey Parker, in a scene from "Despicable Me 3."  (Illumination and Universal Pictures via AP)
  3. After Rick Scott veto, Tarpon Springs renews push for money to dredge Anclote River

    Local Government

    In a pocket formed at the end of a branch of the Anclote River, Kevin Meisman has seen the size of the boats coming by his family's business get smaller.

    Kevin Meisman, 37, looks out from the dock of his family’s business, Quality T-Tops & Boat Accessories, in Tarpon Springs. Meisman says that, without dredging along the Anclote River, the number of boats he can service is limited.
  4. Senator Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa
  5. Video: How to make a Gin and Jam cocktail

    Bars & Spirits

    Looking for an easy cocktail to make at home this summer? Jam is a simple, low-key way to get the job done.