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Does Medicare Coverage Improve Cancer Detection and Mortality Outcomes?

Rebecca Myerson (), Reginald Tucker-Seeley, Dana Goldman and Darius Lakdawalla

No 2019-054, Working Papers from Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group

Abstract: Medicare is the largest government insurance program in the United States, providing coverage for over 60 million people in 2018. This paper analyzes the effects of Medicare insurance on health for a group of people in urgent need of medical care – people with cancer. We used a regression discontinuity design to assess impacts of near-universal Medicare insurance at age 65 on cancer detection and outcomes, using population-based cancer registries and vital statistics data. Our analysis focused on the three tumor sites with recommended screening before and after age 65: breast, colorectal, and lung cancer. At age 65, cancer detection increased by 72 per 100,000 population among women and 33 per 100,000 population among men; cancer mortality also decreased by 9 per 100,000 population for women but did not significantly change for men. In a placebo check, we found no comparable changes at age 65 in Canada. This study provides the first evidence to our knowledge that near-universal access to Medicare at age 65 is associated with improvements in population-level cancer mortality, and provides new evidence on the differences in the impact of health insurance by gender.

Keywords: cancer detection; Medicare; mortality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 I13 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-ias
Note: HI
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Downloads: (external link)
http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Myerso ... cancer-detection.pdf First version, October, 2019 (application/pdf)
http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Myerso ... r-detection_rev1.pdf Second version, November, 2019 (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Does Medicare Coverage Improve Cancer Detection and Mortality Outcomes? (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Does Medicare Coverage Improve Cancer Detection and Mortality Outcomes? (2019) Downloads
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