Medicaid Expansion and Cancer

For the 37,540[i] Missourians who will be diagnosed with cancer in 2020, access to affordable, comprehensive care is essential to detecting, treating and surviving the disease. In Missouri, cancer is the second leading cause of death and an estimated 13,010[ii] Missourians will die from the disease this year.  Providing low-income adults and families access to affordable, comprehensive health care coverage is critical in the fight against cancer.

Medicaid expansion will promote earlier cancer detection, fewer deaths and improved outcomes for patients.  

  • Medicaid expansion was associated with improved rates of colorectal,[i] prostate, and cervical cancer screenings.[ii]
  • Individuals enrolled in Medicaid prior to their cancer diagnosis have better survival rates than those who enroll after their diagnosis.[iii]
  • Medicaid expansion led to an increase in both total and earlier-stage cancer diagnoses in expansion states, while the gap in diagnoses between expansion and non-expansion states widened.[iv]
  • Medicaid expansion was associated with decreased cigarette and other tobacco product purchases, as well as increased access, utilization, and coverage of evidence-based smoking cessation medications.[v]

Access to health insurance coverage makes it easier to work, find a new job, pay for basic needs and succeed in today’s economy. The health coverage provided by Medicaid helps to improve outcomes and reduce the burden of cancer by offering access to prevention services; timely cancer screening and early detection services; as well as affordable treatment services and care. [i],[ii]Medicaid expansion also provides coverage for tobacco use screenings and cessation services, which is critical to reducing tobacco use, saving lives and ultimately reducing healthcare spending.

To improve health outcomes and reduce cancer disparities, Missouri should fully expand Medicaid eligibility to low-income adults earning less than $17,609 a year for an individual and $36,156 for a family of four, as permitted under the federal health law.  Having access to health insurance is a matter of life or death for countless cancer patients, survivors and state residents facing a cancer diagnosis. Ensuring that low-income individuals and families have access to comprehensive, affordable health care coverage is one of the most critical ways lawmakers can successfully reduce cancer incidence and mortality in our state.

For more information, contact Emily Kalmer, Missouri Government Relations Director, ACS CAN at [email protected]


[i] Aparna Soni, Kosali Simon, John Cawley, Lindsay Sabik, “Effect of Medicaid Expansions of 2014 on Overall and Early-Stage Cancer Diagnoses”, American Journal of Public Health 108, no. 2 (February 1, 2018): pp. 216-218.

[ii] Dehkordy, SF, Hall, K, West, B, et al.  “Medicaid Expansion Improves Breast Cancer Screening for Low Income Women.” November 30, 2015.

[i] Fedewa SA, Yabroff R, Smith RA, et al. Changes in breast and colorectal cancer screening after Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Am J Prev Med. 2019;57(1):3-12; Hendryx M & Luo J. Increased Cancer Screening for Low-income Adults Under the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion. Med Care. 2018; 56(11):944-49.

[ii] Mazurenko O, Balio C, Agarwal R, Carroll A, & Menachemi N. The Effects Of Medicaid Expansion Under The ACA: A Systematic Review. Health affairs (Project Hope)37(6), 944–950. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2017.1491.

[iii] Adams E, Chien LN, Florence CS, et al. The Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act in Georgia: effects on time to Medicaid enrollment. Cancer. (2009); 115(6):1300-9.


[iv] Soni A, Cawley J, Sabik L, & Simon K. Effect of Medicaid Expansions of 2014 on Overall and Early-Stage Cancer Diagnoses. The American Journal of Public Health108(2), 216–218. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.304166. 


[i] “American Cancer Society | Cancer Facts & Figures 2020. Atlanta: American Cancer Society 2020.

[ii] Ibid.