Expanding Medicaid Eligibility is Key to Changing North Carolina’s Current Course in the Fight Against Cancer

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Raises Awareness on the Benefits of Such Policy in Saving Lives from the State’s Leading Cause of Death During Medicaid Awareness Month

April 14, 2022

RALEIGH, NC – April 14, 2022 – To mark Medicaid Awareness Month, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is shining a bright light on what increasing eligibility for the state’s Medicaid program would mean for North Carolina families in the fight against cancer.  

“Cancer isn’t partisan – and its impact in our state can’t be understated as it continues to be the leading cause of death for North Carolinians,” shared Derwin Montgomery, ACS CAN North Carolina Government Relations Director. “Expanding Medicaid is a proven way to get to the heart of addressing cancer’s wide burden in the Tar Heel state by providing hardworking families and rural residents with a path to adequate, affordable care.” 

Simply having coverage is one of the largest determining factors for survivorship against cancer. Research continues to show that cancer patients living in states with lower income Medicaid eligibility limits see significantly worse survival rates for most cancer in comparison to states with higher limits.  

Over 372,400 North Carolinians who fall within the coverage gap will face one of the biggest barriers to receive their critical screenings: cost. Many individuals who fall within ‘the coverage gap’ - making too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford private insurance – are more likely to detect cancer at a later stage when survivorship is less likely and treatment is costlier, and sometimes forced to forgo treatment altogether.  

Cancer continues to be one of the costliest diseases to treat evidenced by a recent survey from ACS CAN that found that a majority of cancer patients and survivors have accrued medical debt. This year alone, nearly 65,320 North Carolinians will be diagnosed with cancer – too many of whom will be uninsured when they receive the devastating news.  

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