Association of Medicaid Expansion With Mortality Disparity by Race and Ethnicity Among Patients With De Novo Stage IV Breast Cancer

Author(s): Catalina Malinowski, MPH, CHES, CHW1; Xiudong Lei, PhD1; Hui Zhao, PhD1; Sharon H. Giordano, MD, MPH1,2; Mariana Chavez-MacGregor, MD, MSc1,2
Source: JAMA Oncol. 2022;8(6):863-870. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2022.0159
Lucio Gordan MD

Dr. Lucio Gordan's Thoughts

This is an excellent article demonstrating the stark changes in mortality pre- and post-Medicaid expansion. Further advocacy efforts are needed to enhance access to care, minimize negative social determinants of health. Maintaining the population at risk healthier, with access to guidelines-driven care should not be a matter of much debate, but an action point for our legislators.



Patients who are uninsured and belong to racial and ethnic minority groups or have low socioeconomic status have suboptimal access to health care, likely affecting outcomes. The association of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion with survival among patients with metastatic breast cancer is unknown.


To examine the association between Medicaid expansion and mortality disparity among patients with de novo stage IV breast cancer.


Cross-sectional, population-based study of survival using Cox proportional hazards regression and difference-in-difference (DID) analysis of data from the National Cancer Database and patients diagnosed as having de novo stage IV breast cancer between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2016, residing in states that underwent Medicaid expansion on January 1, 2014. The preexpansion period was January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2013; the postexpansion period was January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2016. Data were analyzed between September 4, 2020, and November 16, 2021.


Comparison of survival improvement between patients of racial and ethnic minority groups and White patients in the preexpansion and postexpansion periods. Because of small numbers in the specific racial and ethnic minority groups, these patients were combined into 1 category for comparisons.


Overall survival (OS) and 2-year mortality rate.


Among 9322 patients included (mean [SD] age, 55 [7] years), 5077 were diagnosed in the preexpansion and 4245 in the postexpansion period. The racial and ethnic minority group comprised 2545 (27.3%), which included 500 (5.4%) Hispanic (any race), 1515 (16.3%) non-Hispanic Black, and 530 (5.7%) non-Hispanic other including 25 (0.3%) American Indian or Alaska Native, 357 (3.8%) Asian or Pacific Islander, and 148 (1.6%) unknown, and 6777 (72.7%) were in the White patient group. In the preexpansion period, White patients had increased OS compared with patients of racial and ethnic minority groups (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.22; 95% CI, 1.10-1.35); this difference was not observed in the postexpansion period (aHR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.86-1.08). A reduction in 2-year mortality was observed between the preexpansion and postexpansion periods (32.2% vs 26.0%). The adjusted 2-year mortality decreased from 40.6% to 36.3% among White patients and from 45.6% to 35.8% among patients of racial and ethnic minority groups (adjusted DID, −5.5%; 95% CI, −9.5 to −1.6; P = .006). Among patients in the lowest income quartile (n = 1510), patients of racial and ethnic minority groups had an increased risk of death in the preexpansion period (aHR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.01-1.61) but lower risk in the postexpansion period (aHR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.59-0.95). In this subset of patients, those of racial and ethnic minority groups had a greater reduction in 2-year mortality compared with White patients (adjusted DID, −12.8%; 95% CI, −22.2 to −3.5; P = .007).


In this cross-sectional study, survival differences observed between patients of racial and ethnic minority groups and White patients in the preexpansion period were no longer present in the postexpansion period. A greater reduction in 2-year mortality was observed among patients of racial and ethnic minority groups compared with White patients. These results suggest that policies aimed at improving equity and increasing access to health care may reduce racial and ethnic disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

Author Affiliations

1Department of Health Services Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 2Breast Medical Oncology Department, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

PACE: A Randomized Phase II Study of Fulvestrant, Palbociclib, and Avelumab After Progression on Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4/6 Inhibitor and Aromatase Inhibitor for Hormone Receptor–Positive/Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor–Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer

Findings from the PACE study show that the addition of Palbociclib to Fulvestrant was not better than Fulvestrant alone, and the addition of Avelumab to Fulvestrant improved and nearly doubled the PFS. This is compelling and should be studied further for our patients with HR+ HER2- MBC.

Read More »

Efficacy and Safety of Trastuzumab Deruxtecan in Patients With HER2-Expressing Solid Tumors: Primary Results From the DESTINY-PanTumor02 Phase II Trial

This is a study showing tumor agnostic activity of trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-DXd) with an all-comer overall response rate (ORR) of 37.1%, duration of response (DOR) of 11.3 months and an overall survival (OS) of 13.4 months in an otherwise heavily pre-treated group. Those with IHC-3+ derived larger benefit than 2+. Patients with ERBB2 mutations who had no expression of HER2 were excluded from the trial.

Read More »

Randomized Trial of Exercise and Nutrition on Chemotherapy Completion and Pathologic Complete Response in Women With Breast Cancer: The Lifestyle, Exercise, and Nutrition Early After Diagnosis Study

There have been studies showing decreased recurrence in women who underwent curative breast surgeries (walking and yoga). This study assesses if it will affect the intensity of chemotherapy delivered. Although it did not affect it, women who underwent the program had better pathologic complete response (pCR), we need more studies to assess role of nutrition and exercise in treating cancer as we develop a wholesome approach to treat our patients, something we may be able to do in our practice.

Read More »

Nine-Week Versus One-Year Trastuzumab for Early Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2–Positive Breast Cancer: 10-Year Update of the ShortHER Phase III Randomized Trial

This is a 10-year follow-up of the ShortHER study using nine weeks vs. 12 months of adjuvant trastuzumab in HR+ non-metastatic breast cancer. With long-term follow-up, non-inferiority could not be claimed statistically. Still, the DFS/OS results are identical in those patients with N0-N3 disease, while those with N4 disease seemed to have a significant difference favoring 12 months of therapy, suggesting that volume/burden of disease drives the margin of benefit in adjuvant trastuzumab therapy.

Read More »