Get BlazeTV
News

Study: More women received mammograms under Obamacare

Outside the North Portico hangs a giant pink ribbon in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (Getty Images)

More women got mammograms once they were offered at no cost to them under Obamacare, according to a recent study.

The report, published in the journal Cancer Monday, found that mammography rates increased under the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in all socioeconomic statuses.

However, the study also took a look at colonoscopy rates under Obamacare and found that that preventative test did not see an increase in use.

"We wanted to see, as a natural experiment, what happens when you change the financial burden on preventive services," Dr. Gregory Cooper, lead author of the study and program director of gastroenterology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, told CNN.

"We know that more affluent people are more likely to get screened," he said. "If you take away some of the financial barriers, would the gap between the poorest and wealthiest begin to narrow?"

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare once he takes office later this month, but it is not clear to what extent he plans to gut the controversial health care law.

More than one dozen preventative screening tests for adults and pregnant women specifically are required to be covered under Obamacare without co-pay or having to meet an insurance deductible. Aside from mammographies and colonoscopies, these services include: cervical cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infections screenings and osteoporosis screenings.

"We don't know what the future of Obamacare is," Cooper told CNN. "I haven't heard anything about preventative services, but I would argue that even if the program itself is dismantled, that would be a worthy benefit to keep."

In order to conduct the study, Cooper and his team looked at Medicare claims data for those who are at least 70. In doing so, Cooper said, his team was able to study data for the same people for before and after Obamacare's implementation.

Cooper told Forbes that he was surprised by the increase in women on Medicaid who received mammograms under Obamacare, which eliminated out-of-pocket expenses.

"For these women, not much changed aside from the out-of-pocket expense," he said. "It just goes to show that even if [the co-pay] is not a lot of money for someone who has the means to pay, it may still be a driving factor."

Cooper said that despite the study's findings when it came to colonoscopies, lawmakers should still take into account the change in women who got mammograms when the test became more affordable as they discuss the future of health care.

Aside from Obamacare, women's access to mammograms is also a fight in the abortion-rights debate.

Defenders of Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading abortion provider, often say that should the organization be defunded, women would lose access to mammograms. However, as anti-abortion activists often point out, Planned Parenthood does not offer that service.

One last thing…
Watch TheBlaze live and on demand on any device, anywhere, anytime.
try premium
Exclusive video
All Videos
Watch BlazeTV on your favorite device, anytime, anywhere.
Subscribe Now
Recommended
Daily News Highlights

Get the news that matters most delivered directly to your inbox.